Have you ever been angry at God?
Maybe you’ve blamed him for a bad breakup. Or perhaps the death of a loved one. Bitter, you may have felt that God had failed or disappointed you.
I understand how that feels like. In life, I was once so angry with God that I became spiritually rebellious.
A PAINFUL PAST
I lived much of my teenage life wondering why my father lived his with a poverty mindset. You could see it in his unwillingness to discard material things — hoarding — for fear he might need it again in the future.
For years, I resented how his hoarding affected my parents’ relationship and our family life. Anger and bitterness began to build up towards my father as tensions flared at home.
None of us were able to convince him out of the chronic hoarding. I grew frustrated at the arguments that ensued and tired of witnessing my mother’s futile attempts to discard what he would inevitably take back from the “to-throw” pile. I was beyond disgruntled at how didn’t see a need for change.
Without confessing our anger, there is no letting go — forgiveness can’t be given or released.
But I better understood why my father was the way he was, when I came to know the historical details of my paternal ancestry sometime in 2010. It was the family gathering where the family tree was drawn, and photographs of my ancestors were passed around. That afternoon was also the first time I “met” my grandfather.
I had never seen my paternal grandfather in person as he had passed on long before I was born, leaving behind my grandmother and seven children. My father was the eldest, but he was merely 11 years old when he lost his father. That meant that while he was still a boy, he had to fulfil the father’s role in the family.
Worse still, following my grandfather’s death, my grandmother wasn’t left with much of an inheritance. She had to provide for herself and seven young children. My father, along with his younger siblings, worked odd jobs to help the family. But with no hope in sight, my grandmother fell into severe depression.
Things got to a point where my father and his siblings witnessed their mother try to take her own life. But thankfully, with the help of the neighbours, my grandmother was saved before she could commit suicide. After the incident, my youngest aunt and uncle were given up for adoption. Their difficult reconciliations with the family would only come much later.
A HURTING HOME
Weeks after that family gathering in 2010, I was readying myself for bedtime when I suddenly felt a heavy weight on my heart.
I was immensely burdened for my paternal family. An overwhelming sense of injustice and unfairness gripped my thoughts and I began to weep uncontrollably. I felt a deep loss in my heart: As if I were my 11-year-old father grieving the loss of his father, witnessing his mother’s suicide attempt and watching his siblings being given up for adoption. There was anger burning in my chest.
With all the emotions surfacing — chiefly my resentment towards my father — I could barely control my thoughts and what spilled out of my mouth thereafter: “Lord, why did this happen to our family? Why did grandpa have to die? Why didn’t You do anything to intervene? What were we to do with this generational pain and lack?”
I fell asleep that evening so sore and incredibly angry at God. I wished that He could have changed the course of my family’s history and protected them from the pain and sorrow they experienced.
My heart began to harden towards the Lord, thinking He simply didn’t want to come to my family’s rescue. As it turned cold, I blamed God for how the generational sins had cost my generation to suffer.
In rebellion, my heart turned away from the Lord. Through this period of rebellion and wrestling with God, however, I learnt two personal lessons:
1. Admit and confess your anger
Following the sobbing prayers, it was sobering for me to realise how our gracious God allows us to bring our angry and honest thoughts before Him. I was convicted: We must not allow ourselves become spiritual rebellious and sin in our anger (Ephesians 4:26). Proverbs 28:14 offers another warning, “Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.”
Without confessing our anger, there is no letting go — forgiveness can’t be given or released. As I navigated through my anger, I felt like one of the Israelites who had fallen to sin in the wilderness, the very type of person addressed in Hebrews 3:15: “As has just been said: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.’”
When I confessed my anger, God lovingly assured me that He forgave me and had not turned His gaze away from me.
2. Allow the Lord to make your heart tender
I am a firm believer of Ezekiel 36:26 where God says, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” This happened to me, almost in an instant.
In the thick of my spiritual rebellion in 2010, a visiting pastor — who didn’t know me or the dire spiritual situation I was going through at the time — prayed for me. Through his prayer, God made my flesh again, bringing revelation and understanding to my pain and anger.
“God has seen your heart. He has seen the purity of your heart and your deep desire for Him. But there are generations of resistance against you. There’s a long line of pain and suffering in your family. I want you to listen to me closely: Tonight, it ends.”
When I heard these lines, the heaviness broke and I experienced a sensation that can only be described as molten lava flushing through my heart, softening it.
The pastor continued: “The Lord is a warrior over you and He destroys every evil thing right now. God is rising up and let the enemy be scattered in your life, in your family’s life now and forever.”
Hot tears streamed down my face and I began to weep uncontrollably. But these tears were different — stemming from the victory over my family and its descendants to come! For the first time in a long time, I went home with a tender heart towards the Lord.
A HEART RE-FLESHED
Sometimes, we build such high barricades and defences to keep God out even when what we really need is a fresh touch from Him — to know His character, love and compassion anew.
I was once again reminded of Psalm 145:8, “The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” God was slow to anger and abounding in love towards me, and that love stirred up a new desire within me to do likewise.
If your heart has gone astray, make room for the Lord to work in your heart again. Let your hardened heart collide with His relentless love. When we present our imperfect heart before God, He brings healing and revelation to our circumstance.
The Lord showed me that my father’s lifestyle was not solely the product of his personal decisions. Instead it stemmed from the generational curses and spiritual strongholds present in my family line.
Instead of being angry, rebellious or ignorant, I learnt of the need to pray for my family like a warrior in battle. Today, I understand intercession better — I’ve caught a glimpse of God’s heart for struggling families.
This article was first published on Selah.sg, and is republished with permission.