Sunday, April 22, 2007

When You're Mad at God

I noticed him sitting in the porch swing as I walked up the driveway of our home. It was a long walk, but I could still see my little brother sitting there, and knew something was not right. I walked up to the porch and took off my backpack, and looked over at him. He had a burden on his shoulders that no nine year old should have to bear. It was called aplastic anemia, a rare blood disease. They just discovered he had it, and were determining the best course of treatment for him.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"I have to have another bone marrow test," he said. "I asked God to make sure I didn't have anymore, and now I have to have another one."

I didn't know what to say. He seemed so fragile at that point. He never really seemed fragile before then. But now he was broken. He had put his faith in the fact that if he asked God to help him with the bone marrow tests, God would help him.

It was no small thing he was asking. Bone marrow tests are painful, and done with local anaesthesia and a large needle. The pain killer only helps with the incision. He felt everything else, including the bone biopsy. He had had three, and that was enough. He wanted no more.

I'm sure the news of the test was a trial to his faith. He was disappointed, scared, but more than that he was angry. I left him there on the swing and went about my afternoon business. That was until mom came into the room. She was crying.

Seems she asked Chris to go take a shower. It would make him feel better, she said. So he obeyed. And there in that shower, where he thought no one could hear him, Chris began to talk to God. Not in prayer form. He talked.

"I'm mad at you, God." He was feeling it, and he needed to say it.

"I said I didn't want any more bone marrow tests, and now I'm getting one. I'm MAD at you!"

Mom could hear his anger, his tears, his lamentations. Then she heard silence. The crying stopped. The tears stopped. The anger stopped. But the grace began.

See, God knew Chris was mad. He knew there were even more bone marrow tests in his future, and that he was going to need to get through this one. And he needed a little extra grace for this one as well. So God gave it to him. And in that moment, when Chris met God in that conversation, God revealed to Chris His nature, compassion, omniscience and the freedom that confessing our anger to Him brings. God accepts us where we are at, as is, because that is how He loves to reveal Himself to us and meet our needs.

For our family, it was a huge lesson. We knew God wants us to tell Him everything, but we saw, in action, His grace at work in a difficult situation. And it is a lesson that has remained these 30+ years later: God knows when we're mad at him. Just tell him and then the healing can begin.


Anonymous said...

He was a little missionary to all of us, wasn't he. Thanks for reminding me of a beautiful memory.

You are loved!

Mark Goodyear said...

Powerful, Stacy. Very powerful. I'm not very good at prayer myself, though I try. Mark Roberts' ideas on Psalms opened me up to this kind of prayer.

God is big enough for us to be honest with him. Not in a way that is blasphemous, just honest.