I listened this last weekend to a podcast from a respected Christian author. He’s often told of how God has a way of getting his by disrupting his fishing trips. (I suspect this would get the attention of many a man.) The fishing was terrible until finally the man, having learned to look for God in the small things, asked, “God, what are you saying? What is this about?” He felt God’s reply was, Your hatred of me.
I suspect many of us have a beef with God over something. Lingering disappointment. Heartrending tragedy. The state of the world.
There are answers for all this, theologically. But it doesn’t always reach our hearts, our emotional fault lines.
I would know this. I’ve taken unexpected blows, like my family’s collapse, that God neither stopped nor undid. And every once in a while, some resentment towards God reveals itself in my soul, like a Rottweiler peeking out from a garbage pile. (I saw that on a pizza run this last week and it seemed to work here as a metaphor.)
On that pizza run, I prayed something like this.
Lord, forgive me for my bitterness towards you. I have no right to be angry with you. Not after the cross. Not after the empty tomb. Please give me strength to put aside my resentment towards you. Help me forgive you.
I know that the idea of “forgiving God” sounds theologically scandalous, since God is incapable of wrong. But if you think about it, you can stand in need to forgive someone whether they committed wrong or not. You can be bitter towards a hiring manager who turned you down years ago for a badly needed position simply because you weren’t the most qualified. You can hold a grudge towards another driver who slid on impossible ice and hit your car. Bitterness is a funny thing; it doesn’t actually require moral wrong. It just requires someone…or Someone…who had an agenda different from yours.
So I prayed for strength to release my simmering resentment of his agenda in my life. And I prayed for new revelations of his love.
Like the spray of a waterfall after a thirty-mile desert hike, they came. In the same quirky, personal ways God shows his love to me, they came. Once the resentment was out of the way, they came.
I have no delusions that the garbage-clearing is over. It will likely be a layered, ongoing event.
But on the days when your beef with God arises, clear it out. Release him from your resentment. You will know his love again in fresh ways.