It isn’t a sin to get mad at God

Here I sit in the early morning light and my whole house is still asleep except for me.

There is a decorative pumpkin already on the coffee table and a candle that smells like cinnamon. And every now and then a chill creeps in through the open window and reminds me that it’s that time of year again. Fall. And then winter. And the holidays.

And it makes it hard to write.

I love the holiday season–making ornaments in school out of macaroni and drinking cider at pumpkin patches and eating too much cranberry sauce and decorating the tree to Bing Crosby. But then last fall happened, and no matter what Dad had said, it still changed everything. This time last year Dad was coming home from the hospital. He decided to quit chemotherapy. He decided its ok to go home and die. And I decided that the changing leaves would never look the same.

hospital bed with dad

And it’s maddening.

So the other night I announced to my husband with teary eyes, “It’s been a year, Matt. And sometimes I am still just SO mad at God.”

It’s not that I have trouble believing in him. I’ve never really had that kind of trouble. And besides, how can you be mad at someone who isn’t there? No, the trouble I had with Him was figuring out why sometimes it feels like He turns his back. Like He’ll take away the best you have, He’ll let you scramble to make ends meet, He’ll watch as you pray for something that simply never comes. He’ll be silent when you demand answers. And like a child at her parent’s closed door, I weep. I stomp my foot. And then, “I hate you!” and storm off. 

fall time

You might wince at reading that. And it’s ok. There are many people who believe you shouldn’t EVER be mad at God, let alone hate Him. And part of me envies those people. Part of me wonders if I’ll ever get to that point where trials don’t make me shake a fist at the sky. And part of me wants to tell those people it’s ok. It’s ok to get mad at God.

So since Fall is making its entrance I’ve been thinking a lot about all of that this week. And it wasn’t until someone asked me a simple question that I’ve come to grips with something. The other day someone at work randomly asked me, “Kayla, you being a literature person, what do you think is one of the greatest love stories ever written?”

So I pondered *because I’m a literature geek* and thought through the hundreds of romances I’ve read so far. I thought about the plot lines so many of them follow–There’s a protagonist and by some event that protagonist falls in love. But the person the protagonist falls for is challenging. Sometimes forbidden or unreachable or unaware. The obstacles arise, including fights or misunderstandings or hurt along the way. But then the end always comes and somehow love wins out. No matter how it wins, it seems to. And the thing that makes it romantic? The protagonist always believed it would.

And it hit me.

I know the greatest love story ever written.

It all began with a protagonist who created light out of darkness and who formed love with his very hands. That protagonist loved so deeply that he let his great loves leave his presence and wander–for years–far away. Some of them decided they didn’t love him anymore. Some hated him. Some simply forgot. And there were others. Others who loved him. Who believed they’d be back with him. Others who had so much faith until the winds picked up and they blamed him for knocking them down. But the protagonist loved. Always loved. He even watched his own son die a horrible death to save the wanderers from a horrible fate. He wept and tore the skies open when his great loves were the hands to kill. Years would go by and he’d watch his great loves make up stories and theologies as to who he was. He sometimes waited to be talked to for a very long time. But he always waited and he always loved. Because out of every love story, He is the protagonist that loved the most. He’s the one who knew the end of the story and understood when those he loved hated him and asked “Why me?” He cried with them and laughed with them and he sat behind a closed door, his hand gently pressed against it, as his own child screamed “I hate you!”, yelling much too loudly to hear anything he had to say.

But He always loved.

jesus2

My heart gave out a little when I thought this all over the other day, and I still think about it now as another chill sweeps into the living room and makes my sleeping bunnies rustle in their cages.

God is part of the greatest love story ever written–and so are we. He has a deep compassion for us that we so rarely have for Him. It’s amazing, really.

It’s going to be natural to be the characters that wander. It’s in our description. It’s in the plot.

He’s going to understand when we struggle–because that’s what this world offers–and He’s even going to get it when we blame that struggle on Him. But He loves us through it all and keeps giving us new moments, new days, new opportunities to come back to Him and to find joy.

He understands that when we’re angry at him, we’re caught up in moments where we forget how much He loves us. And how He’s on our team.

mad at god

Dieter F. Uchtdorf has said, “Since the beginning of time, love has been the source of both the highest bliss and the heaviest burdens. At the heart of misery from the days of Adam until today, you will find the love of wrong things. And at the heart of joy, you will find the love of good things. And the greatest of all good things is God.”

The pages turn and I enter in to a new Fall. Some enter in to new lives after a big move or new, overwhelming schedules after a baby. Some are waking up to a new day without limbs or a new week without a job. One by one the pages turn and if we let it, we forget who’s turning the pages. We get angry at who does. And we forget that:

“God does not need us to love Him. But oh, how we need to love God! For what we love determines what we seek. What we seek determines what we think and do. What we think and do determines who we are—and who we will become.”

It isn’t a sin to get mad at God. It isn’t evil to stumble and wonder why. Look at Job. And Jonah. And Jesus himself, who thought for a brief moment that God had turned His back. But we must rise from it. We have to remember.

jonah

It takes faith to remember that as we scream and cry at the closed door there is a Father on the other side, forehead pressed against the door, eyes wet.

And He just waits.

Because only we can open it again.

 

 

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20 thoughts on “It isn’t a sin to get mad at God

  1. Kayla, thank you for posting such an amazing piece. At first I wasn’t going to read it because of the “duh” factor and the “yeah I already know that” aspect. After being reduced to tears, I will be saving this piece for future reference and sharing it when and where I can. What I like about your writing is it’s real, it’s not sugar coated, happy pappy religious regurgitations, I can get plenty of that at Church on Sunday, and this would be at any church on any Sunday, not just ours. I’ve lost my brother, my Mother, my step dad, my dad, my brother in law, 2 favorite sets of aunts and uncles, and my husband. I took me 5 years to get thru the death of my husband, and there are still moments where I miss him horribly and it’s been over 15 years now. It’s been 23 years since my Mom, and 36 since my brother. The best that I can do now that I’m “over” the loss of them and everyone else is hope I can bring out the best of who they were in myself and that way keep them with me. My Mom never met a stranger, so when I’m at the grocery store I remember her commenting on the checkout girls nice earrings or her pretty hair or whatever, but she always did that, so now I do it too. Which is why I’m posting this long meandering comment because I was deeply moved by your piece and that you miss your Dad so much. This is my way of saying you have nice earrings and thank you for sharing your feelings.

  2. Hi Kayla!

    Just wanted to state that your blog today was spot on and held much truth in the ³greatest love story ever told² is that of God¹s love for His creation, especially man and woman whom He created in His image. Thank you for these words of encouragement.

    Paul

    Paul and Susan Olmstead (Austen, Alex, Zeb) NTM-USA Missionary Training Center Ministry Advancement Center (MAC) Partnership Development paul_olmstead@ntm.org http://www.ntm.org/paul_olmstead http://www.psaaz.com http://www.linkedin.com/in/paulolmstead (920) 254-8736 Paul / (262) 365-8949 Susan

    From: all our lemmony things Reply-To: all our lemmony things Date: Monday, September 8, 2014 at 12:17 PM To: Paul Olmstead Subject: [New post] It isn¹t a sin to get mad at God

    WordPress.com Kayla Lemmon posted: “Here I sit in the early morning light and my whole house is still asleep except for me.There is a decorative pumpkin already on the coffee table and a candle that smells like cinnamon. And every now and then a chill creeps in through the open window and r”

  3. Man I love this. I think we, well I’ll speak for myself, I’m so hard on myself when I get mad at God and ask why?!. But it is okay. I think we just can’t forget that he loves us. Thank you for sharing!

  4. This was beautiful. It made me cry and is exactly what I need right now. Thankyou for being so in tune with the Spirit. Thankyou for taking the time to write this message down. Thankyou so much.

  5. It is so true, in spite of everything the world can throw at us and the life that happens, we do indeed need to “Always Remember”. Thank you for sharing the greatest love of all.

  6. I disagree on principle that hating God isn’t a sin. Everything that separates us from God is a sin, lack of faith is a sin, indifference is a sin, sloth, gluttony are sins. Does God understand our pain that that promotes the misplaced hate, yes. Repentance can cover hate or frustration, so let it work its way out and move on in faith. I just disagree that hating God isn’t a sin. Sounds more like an attempt at creative writing to entice viewership.

    • ‘Sounds more like an attempt at creative writing to entice viewership.’ Really dc. She poured her heart out and quite eloquently if I may say so. God most assuredly knows that sin is the result of a spiritual battle and Kayla and most of the Christian world needs to know that we are in a life and death struggle with satan and his band of renegade angels that only Christians have authority in this battle. Non-christians can’t fight or even understand the spiritual realm. Ephesians 6:10-18 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” She needs to have faith that her Dad is in Heaven and she will see him again and she can do this by reading the Bible that tells us that to be absent from the body is to present with the Lord in Second Corinthians 5:1-9. And then when the devil comes with his tormenting spirits she can stand on God’s Word.

      • BM – I stand by my position. You can’t be at odds with God and not be in the grips of sin. We all battle sin, we all understand enmity with God, and that is what repentance is for. There is no need make excuses for it. We all battle it in one form or another, so to try and write about it creatively like because it’s common, it isn’t a sin. That is like wresting the Scriptures to me. I fully empathize with her experience and feelings, but not her view of this sin.

  7. Kayla, I have screamed at God and told Him I hate you. God suffers over us more than we can possibly imagine because we don’t understand His Word. His Word says in John 10:10, ” The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Why don’t we get mad at the devil and scream “I hate you!” at him? The Bible tells us that we are to resist the devil by recognizing his wiles and speaking God’s Word over our situation.
    In March of 2009 I had a prostate biopsy and had 2 out of 12 cuts that were positive for cancer. I immediately went to God’s Word and stood on First Peter 2:24, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” It says “were” which means at the cross when Jesus was stripped by Pontius Pilate 39 times which is how many classifications of diseases are known to exist. When I was diagnosed with cancer I knew it was something I was doing because my healing was settled at Calvary. I didn’t question God’s Word, but I did ask Him to help me restore my health and His precious Holy Spirit was with me all the way as the spiritual battle waged all around me trying to get me to go have surgery or radiation. Ephesians 6:10-18 came alive, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
    16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”

    In April of 2010 I had another biopsy and there was no sign of cancer. God was able to help me because on November 26, 1983 I was baptized with His precious Holy Spirit. The same Holy Ghost that was received by the 120 on the day of Pentecost in the book of Acts chapter 2 and Acts 10 and we read in verses 44-48, “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.” You speak in tongues to receive the Holy Ghost and then you have a prayer language you can pray in when you don’t know how to pray which is most of the time. Romans 8:26-28, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
    27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
    Looking forward to your reply, Bill McCracken

  8. My mom has been gone just over a year and I am forever changed, I will never ever be the same again! Nothing looks the same, nothing feels the same. I miss her like crazy!!! I needed to read this so thank you for sharing.
    Susan

    • Yes, the world feels more hostile without a person’s Mother on it. My husband reminds me though, that they are here, just in a different dimension. Three years ago we moved out of state for a job. My husband had two years of unemployment. We went from a lovely big home to an old tiny duplex. I stood crying, looking out the window, age 55, missing my kids and grandkids and my mother who had passed. I realized I wanted to tell my Mom my new address and couldn’t. But then, through my tears, I felt my Mom say, “Cheer up, you can make this place look so pretty.” This article was lovely. Thanks.

  9. Kayla, I am reading this a little after the fact. I only heard about your blogspot after my daughter told me about your blog on being a Latter-day Saint and not a Mormon. Notwithstanding DC and his all knowing advice, I have found myself being mad at God. Hating? Never. Just mad. If it is a sin, so be it. Would not be the first time I have sinned. My being mad started out when I was a boy and not LDS. Not anything. I did believe in God and I did believe that He and Jesus Christ were two different beings. I always prayed to God. My problem was trust. I thought God could and would do anything. I prayed that my father would stop drinking. He didn’t. Not until many, many years later. But that experience did a number on my trust issue. I still find myself getting mad at God for stupid reasons, like allowing the Government to assert so much control over us. Allowing drouths to be prolonged. Not curing someone on my time table. Allowing my daughter and daughter-in-laws to have miscarriages, The list is endless. I now hear my daughter and a son along with his wife say they are mad at God. But, as you say, and as I have told them. At least you believe in God. Otherwise, you would not be mad. Whether getting mad at God is a sin is not for me or any another commenter to speculate or conject about. It is like a non-lds person telling me that I am not a Christian because I don’t believe what they believe, or what they say they believe. Who cares what they think. They will not be my judge. I love your blogs because you seem to think like I do, and everyone loves someone who thinks like they do! Keep up the good work and keep the faith!

  10. In the spirit of appreciation, i express gratitude for your gift of putting into words what I have been feeling but couldn’t give expression of. Thank you for reminding me of the truth of the “greatest love story” ever told. I am happier today from reading your post…thank you.

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  12. You made me tear up. I, too, have found out that it’s ok to be angry at God. If we are to have a real relationship with him, then we must be able to talk about the hard things. My mom passed away Easter weekend this year from Brain Cancer. She went home in February, defeated, and deciding it was ok to die, and lasted two months. When she was suffering from the cancer, I was so angry inside my blood boiled because I couldn’t fix it and God wouldn’t fix it. I distanced myself from everything that required me to be positive about it, like testimony meetings about trials that were no where near as hard (this is how I thought about other’s trials… so selfish) as mine. I withdrew from my ward because I was hurting and I couldn’t handle even the simple question, “hey how are you?” or listen to people say, “Have faith.” FAITH IN WHAT, that God is letting her die? It’s been a rocky road, but the one thing I’ve known all along is, it’s ok to be mad at God, as long as I never turn my back on him completely. So what do I do? I go to him with everything I am upset about. I cry and yell and tell him this was mean and he should’ve kept her here and healed her. And then I thank him that I got to know her and that she got to raise me. My God is my parent, just like my mother is/was. I went to her with everything, so I must do that with him to. With all my doubts, my lack of faith, my happiness and joy, my successes, and my anger. If I can’t take my anger to him, than how can I take my happiness, as well?

    Thanks for writing this. I’m so sorry about your dad. It really sucks, doesn’t it?

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