In my previous post, I discussed three ways to raise your hand to God when going through painful circumstances, such as losing your wife:
- Raise an accusative finger, blaming Him for what we perceive as unnecessary pain or unfulfilled promises.
- Raise an angry fist in His face because we feel He caused the “bad stuff” that happened.
- Raise an open hand, offering up anything we are holding onto and receiving whatever He decides to place in it.
I admit I may have done the first; I am sure I have done the second. However, as I walked through the painful process of accepting the reality of losing my wife, ultimately, I raised an open hand.
There is a fourth way to raise your hand to God. It is to throw up both hands and say, “I am done. I am out of here!” When pain has been intense for so long, when God is silent, or He does not answer our prayers as we want Him to, losing faith, rejecting God, or both is understandable. Unfortunately, some have walked away.
As a twenty-something, I heard a quote from A.W. Tozer, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.” That was a profound and scary proposition that I did not fully understand because my life had been relatively comfortable. Still, I knew there was truth in it. Forty years later, hearing the doctor say, “Your wife will never regain consciousness,” I experienced what it means to be hurt deeply.
Some might disagree and say that God does not hurt people. On a human level, I could assign blame in various areas for Jasmine’s condition.
It was the evil origins of COVID.
It was the protocol of the medical establishment.
Big Pharma is behind it.
It was her PCP’s ineptitude.
Some of it might be true . . . possibly all of it. I can be justifiably angry about those things, and I have been. Contemplating the proposition that God caused or allowed this seems incongruent with believing God is good. But trusting God means remaining faithful even when we do not have the answer to the question, “Why?” This does not mean we cannot be angry with Him. We find expressions of it in the Scriptures. Here are a few examples:
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? (Psalm 13:1 NIV)
If I have sinned, what have I done to you, you who see everything we do? Why have you made me your target? Have I become a burden to you? (Job 7:20 NIV)
How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. (Habakkuk 1:2-3 NIV)
Expressing anger is part of a process, but it should not be the end. If it is, it will only lead to resentment, which leads to depression and despair.
If you have walked away from God because of your loss, I encourage you to turn around and go back. He is waiting. Raise an open hand, receive His peace, and move forward.