What are human beings, that you make so much of them, that you set your mind on them, visit them every morning, test them every moment? Will you not look away from me for a while, let me alone until I swallow my spittle? (Job 7:17-19)
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? (Psalm 13:1)
Sometimes we can feel like Job, mad at God because we believe God is giving us more than we can handle, testing us with WAY TOO MUCH. (If you remember Job’s story, you will recall that God allowed Satan to do all kinds of awful things to Job, except for taking his life. See chapters 1 and 2 of Job.) Other times we can feel like the Psalmist. We can be angry because it feels like God is absent... forgetting us altogether... even hiding from us.
What to do during such times? Maybe the best thing to do is what Job and the Psalmist did. Cry out to God. Let God have the full force of our anger, the full force of our impatience or frustration. We can yell with Job, “Why don’t you leave me alone for a while, Lord? Go pick on someone else!” Or we can shout with the Psalmist, “Where are you, Lord? Are you EVER going to appear again? How long must I suffer - without your support?”
An equally good thing to do during such times is to be around friends and loved ones. When we’re questioning what God is up to, it’s not a good time to isolate. It’s a time to be around people who can support us, love us, listen to us, and ask us good questions. It’s a time to let someone else’s faith carry us for a while. (Cf. Mark 2:1-12) This is what community is for; this is what it means to be the Body of Christ.
Finally, it’s good to remember that God can handle our anger. We don’t need to worry about God’s reaction. In fact, isn’t it true that - of all the beings in the universe - God is the safest one for us to be angry with? Not only does God love us eternally, but God took on human form at one point in history, and learned firsthand about all the challenges of being human.
So, if you wake up one morning and you are feeling overwhelmed because a friend or loved one is dying, or because you have been laid off, or because you yourself are having health issues, or because it just seems that too much sad stuff is happening in the world... and you wonder where God is... yell and scream and rant and rave at God. Reach out to a friend - or four friends - and tell them how they can best support you. Remember that Jesus walked this earth, too, and that the Holy Spirit is always interceding for you “with sighs too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)
Both Job and the Psalmist came through their crises and were able to praise God again, and feel God’s love. “The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning...” (Job 42:12a) “I will sing to the Lord, for he has dealt bountifully with me.” (Psalm 13:6)
May it be so for you, too.