Will I be punished if I am angry at God?

We can be completely honest toward God with our thoughts and feelings. And God is big enough to take it all.

How Could It Happen?

Responses to questions about the Asian tsunami

Written by Renée Miller

A Prayer for the Victims of the Asian Tsunami
O God of grace, we come before you with hurting hearts to plead for those who are the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Asia. We grieve for those who have lost their lives. May angels surround them and welcome them in peace. We grieve for those who have lost their loved ones and feel as if the ground has disappeared not only from under their feet, but from their innermost hearts. Surround them with your love and tenderness that their pain may not lead to despair. Above all good God, when nothing but the question "Why?" screams through our souls, descend with your loving presence and unfaltering assurance that even in our darkest moments, you will not forsake us. Even our pain and questioning is held in the eternity of your embrace. In the time of fear remind us that, in You, nothing is ever lost. We ask this for the sake of your love. Amen.

From a Malaysian visitor to explorefaith.org whose island was hit by the tsunami:
Many lost their homes and children died on that day… It only brings tears and heartbreaks when we know our creator just stands by the side, allowing this tragedy to happen. I just wish HE would intervene and this world would have less suffering and pain. Why would a loving God allow this to happen?

A Response:
In all honesty, I cannot explain why such a disaster happens. I realize that it is very difficult to understand how a loving God would allow this kind of tragedy. While I don't have clear answers to the question 'why,' I do have some thoughts that may be helpful. I think it is important to remember that we are human and as finite human beings, we have a finite understanding about the mind of God. We do our best to make sense of things, but with our human limitations, we cannot ever really know the grand picture of eternity. I have often felt myself that death is one of the cruelest aspects of life, especially when it comes through innocent suffering. But, the way I have tried to bring sense out of that seemingly chaotic cruelty is to recognize the fact that perhaps God sees death differently than we do.Perhaps death and suffering are not as final in God's eyes as they are in our own. It has also helped me to realize that God is timeless -- God dwells in timelessness. With God, the past is the present is the future is all one. That seems like a strange phrase without punctuation, but in the timelessness of God, death is not a single unilateral event stuck in a chronological moment of time. Because God stands outside of time, or rather, is not limited to chronological time as we know it, God always has the entire grand picture in view.

As humans, we struggle with the tragedies, disasters, and vagaries that life deals out, and wonder why everything cannot be peaceful. And yet, peace is sometimes most fully realized through conflict, resurrection is sometimes most fully realized through death, light is sometimes most fully realized through darkness. If we had the eternal mind of God and could see the grand picture, we might have less difficulty understanding it all. As it is, we may find that we have little chance of fully understanding, but we have been given a great capacity for faith. And as the Bible says, "Faith is the substance of what we hope for, the evidence of what cannot be seen." (Hebrews 11:1). And again in Romans, "We are saved by hope, but hope that is seen is not hope..." (Romans 8:24a). And we have the promise of God's everlasting presence, "I will never leave you or forsake you." (Hebrew 13:5).

The pain and suffering you are bearing now may make you feel hopeless and helpless. But, there are slivers of grace to be found even in the darkest moment. There is the presence of God to be felt in the smallest touch of another. There is the hope that beckons, and the peace of God that is somehow still available even though every breath may feel like it is crushing your chest. And, just maybe, your pain and suffering will help those of us who are not there, to stand in stronger solidarity with you, and together we can storm the gates of heaven, not for answers, but for mercy and love.

Be patient with yourself. It's okay to be mad at God, and cry out to God, and ask God why. When you allow yourself the freedom to be angry and hurt with God, and say what you are feeling, God will hear, and you will find your soul calmed and comforted. May God's great love be wrapped around you and all who are suffering in this tragedy, and in time I pray that the peace of God that passes all understanding will fill your heart and soul with the light of heaven.