Coping When You’re Angry At God

Have you ever had hopes for something, maybe a promotion at work, a good or passing grade, a crush to like you back, etc, only to have these hopes fall through? Have you ever been angry at God?

Have you ever had hopes for something, even some seemingly small, insignificant thing, when everything else around you seemed to be falling apart? This one little thing that would make up for everything else you were going through?

I really had my heart set on this one thing for 2020. I had been praying about it for months, no, years before this. I asked God, begged Him, even. But as it turned out, I would not receive it (Matthew 7:7).

Just like everyone else, I have been absolutely overwhelmed with all that has been happening in the world this year. I really just wanted this one thing to turn out in my favor, sort of as a bright light in all of this darkness I have been experiencing.

I started to believe that it would happen. It had to happen. I couldn’t handle it if it didn’t.

I tried to prepare for the possibility of it not happening, though, just in case. I talked to my therapist about my fears and my desires. I highlighted scripture on God’s perfect plan. After a couple of weeks of prep, I thought I might be at peace with any outcome, but still felt in my heart that God would grant me this thing.

But He didn’t. And I was hurt. Then, I became angry at God.

Well no, but actually, yes.

“What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true. I have no peace, no quietness. I have no rest; only trouble comes (Job 3:23-26).”

Even though I had faith that maybe this dream of mine would come true, a big part of me did still fear that it would fall through. Regardless, I have been feeling what I can best describe as a deep spiritual pain.

I am heartbroken.

I’m so tired from my grieving, and yet I cannot sleep at night because the pain is so strong.

I feel hurt by and angry at God. And it’s been tearing me up inside.
On one of the more difficult days of my grief, I turned to the internet to see how other people deal with their anger towards God. I found a writer that I related to strongly.

In an entry on her blog, “Feels Like Home Blog,” writer Tara Ziegmont recounts her own experience with her anger towards God:

“I am mad at Him for giving me a desperate longing and no way to fulfill it…I am mad at Him for giving me hope that my longing would be fulfilled, and then taking that hope away at the last minute.”

I. Can. Relate.

In my reading I have also seen multiple references to the Psalms of David, in which he openly expresses his anger with God multiple times.

“I say to God, my rock, ‘Why hast thou forgotten me? Why go I mourning…?’ As with a deadly wound in my body, my adversaries taunt me… (Psalm 42:9-10)”

While no one is physically taunting me, I can’t help but feel a gnawing bitterness when I see people I know online who have been given that which I have been pining over for years, especially those that as far as I know hadn’t even been praying for it as hard as I have.

Even when I un-follow and mute them (out of sight, out of mind), I still receive unwelcome thoughts of them through my day, reminding me of what I fear I will never have.

I ask God, “Why? Why deny me this thing that I want and then keep reminding me of it? Why fill me with these emotions?”

“Why have I been wired in such a way that I can’t just turn off these feelings of remorse, regret, jealousy and woe?”

why must you hurt me template | Why Must You Hurt Me in This Way ...

In the heat of the moment, perhaps most of us start thinking we’re being singled out when God doesn’t answer a prayer…

Try as I might to come to terms with all of this, my soul is still sorely troubled, and each and every night (and most nap times) I flood my bed with tears (Psalm 6:3-5).

In my petulant mewling, I’ve felt like God has purposefully caused me this pain. I’ve felt like maybe I’m being punished for something from long ago.

At my therapist’s recommendation, I have read Laura “Story” Elvington’s book, “When God Doesn’t Fix It.” Her story about finding God’s purpose for her through her husband’s trials with a brain tumor and subsequent brain damage helped me to navigate my own feelings, including the ones mentioned above.

“Sometimes, the things we pray for, like healing, peace, and comfort, are given to us just as we requested.” Elvington wrote. “Sometimes, they are withheld. But it’s not because God is punishing us. It’s because God has something else for us.”

She closes this particular chapter with a Myth vs. Truth, as if she were speaking right to me, in capital letters and everything.

MYTH: GOD IS WITHHOLDING WHAT I WANT BECAUSE HE IS PUNISHING ME.

TRUTH: GOD IS WITHHOLDING WHAT I WANT BECAUSE HE HAS SOMETHING BETTER FOR ME.

There's Always Something Better - Home | Facebook

Sometimes we spend so much time looking at other peoples’ lawns that we’re missing what God has for us in our own backyard.

Even after all of that, it still feels like nothing I do has been working to completely dull this pain I am going through. So now there’s nothing left to do but to believe that it’s all working for something good.

“I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born (Isaiah 66:9).”

I have to remember that in this life, there is no gain without some pain.
“What I am doing you do not now know, but afterward you will understand (John 13:7).”

When I first learned that I would never have what I really wanted, I was gutted. I did not understand. I could not understand. I was so absorbed in feeling denied and ignored that nothing made sense in that moment.

As humans, we will always fall short, and succumb to our weak human emotions. Like children who get angry with their parents, it’s natural that we will occasionally get angry with God.

Our parents may have withheld many things from us for good reason, and more likely than not, more often we didn’t understand why, and ended up resentful for a while. But as we got older we learned that it was all for our own good.

As much as it still hurts, I just have to trust that this is one of those cases.

Just like the Psalms that speak of being upset with God, I must try to also praise Him and thank Him and trust that He will eventually deliver me from this pain when He sees fit. I have to trust that He will reveal His plan for me in due time, when I am ready.

What might you be angry about right now? Plans falling through for the summer? YouTube video not taking off? Or are you simply angry at the state of the world at the moment?

Whatever it might be, know you’re not alone, and with some time and prayer, we can all get through it and see what God has in store for us.Β 

Melissa Ruiz

Old Millenial, Batman and Star Wars fan, Freelancer, New England Grrl, Mom, Christian, Geek.

8 Comments

  1. Nick P on March 22, 2024 at 1:44 am

    Hi everyone. It hurts so much to read how you’re hurting πŸ™ . I have been suffering and struggling for many years in certain arenas of my life. Prayed to God over and over and got, in my view, next to nowhere.

    Today I opened up and told God what I REALLY thought of His supposed ‘divine plan’ for my life, where I was at and how betrayed and abandoned I felt. I’m not proud of my anger nor the hurtful things I said to God.

    I mean, we see our friends, randoms on our socials living their best lives. Then we take a look at our own situation and it’s a bad country song.

    Bottom line:
    * We’re scared it’s not getting better and may not ever get better;
    * Physically exhausted (maybe even physically broken);
    * Emotionally exhausted (maybe even emotionally broken / on the verge of giving up);
    * We feel abandoned and betrayed by the very person we believe would never leave. This right here, probably hurts the most.

    Now, I have no idea what God is doing or why He’s acting in the way He is. That is way above my pay grade. I’m just a random dude on the internet who is also going through it.

    All I can do, is pray for you all to:
    * hang in there and don’t give up!
    * that God answers you and provides for you;
    * God heals you where and how you need it.

  2. Bryan on August 13, 2023 at 10:55 pm

    I really wish that gave me hope, instead it gave me more pain and despair. You can say it is because we are like petulant children not getting our way, but think about it. If we allow or did to anyone else the things that God has allowed to happen to us for His plan, we would be evil, vile, and revolting. Instead we hope and trust that one day, maybe he might help. If its his plan. I want to trust and believe, but so far Ive been given nothing to trust or believe in.

    • Ariel Simon on September 9, 2023 at 7:10 am

      I’m in this place too. He says in to trust Him, but hie can I after years of unanswered prayer and a life of hardship? I’ve lost respect and love for God and find it just about impossible to live out my calling for Him with a genuine heart. When I try to pray, I end up cursing and yelling at Him. I’m overwhelming angry with Him.

      • Sade A on November 14, 2023 at 10:43 am

        Ariel, what you just said spoke to my heart and almost brought me to tears. I have no idea how to love God right now. I’m broken, sad, scared, angry, alone and D – all of the above.

        I’m praying since the time of this post, God has answered you and maybe you can share.

        • Ariel on February 15, 2024 at 9:15 pm

          Hey. Thanks for your response. Tbh, life hasn’t changed much since this post. I have had less angry outbursts, but I’m still distanced from God. Tonight, however, I cried out to God and ended up yelling/cursing at Him. Idk where I go from here, but I’ve been focused on other areas of my life. I really don’t believe God cares. I hope things have gotten better to you.

      • Christine on November 15, 2023 at 12:22 am

        I’m there with you. Years of unanswered prayers and nothing but no’s, hurt, disappointment, breadcrumbing and pulling the rug out from under me. I wrote a 7 page letter tonight telling God I was done with him until he started treating me with the grace he gives others.

        • Sade A on November 15, 2023 at 9:13 am

          I’ve done that. I’ve written down a bunch of things, said some horrible things to God. I don’t know what you’re praying for Christine, but I pray God gives you those desires and fills you with peace. I know what it feels like to feel unfulfilled or like your dreams are deferred. It creates sickness of the heart and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

        • Ariel on February 15, 2024 at 9:20 pm

          Christine, your post sounds like I could’ve written it. I’ve become tired of it all- prayer, the devil, etc. I haven’t even gone to church in awhike b/c I felt like it all was weighing negatively on my mental health- the perceived rejection from God, the constant waiting and prayers, God’s repetitive silence, etc. I told God I was done too. Maybe one day I can be led back to that place of true intimacy with Him, but I don’t have it now. I hope you’re okay.

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