As someone wondered if I was having a crisis of faith I was reminded of something that I have often mentioned in the class and in one or two articles, which is that expressing anger towards God is, in fact, a statement of faith. If I didn’t believe in God then with whom would I be angry? The fact that Job cried against God and called for an accounting was a fundamental act of faith.
The truth is, I don’t think I would say that I am “angry,” with God or anyone else. I hurt to the core and still cry out “Why?!” (with a few profanities thrown in), but I don’t think I am “angry.”
As I have said before (I think) on this blog in the past week, Job demanded an answer from God and I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t do the same. I know, however, that when God responded to Jon he didn’t actually answer any of his questions, God offered no explanation for his suffering. In fact, God was kind of a jerk: “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, or loose the cords of Orion?” Can you? No! Didn’t think so! Why? Because your not God and I am! Hah! (Job 38, with a bit of paraphrase on my part.) The point of Job is that God spoke to Job. Job answered God, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you.” (Job 42:5)
We certainly have seen incredible love and support, heard encouragement and wisdom from so many. It is, frankly, embarrassing how many hundreds of people have reached out to us and we are deeply humbled. Today alone two families who lost a loved-one to similar fast-acting infections sent us notes to encourage us and offer to talk and help us through our time, even as they are only months away from their own loss. This is love. I know that God is working and blessing us through those around us and I, we, are deeply grateful.
But if I am honest, I still would like to feel the whirlwind and hear the voice of God with Job. Elijah hear the “still small voice of God,” but he got a pretty good show of power and might first. (1 Kings 19:11-13) Of course it isn’t really faith when we can see and touch, is it? (Heb. 11:1)
One thought on “A short note: The Angry Faithful”
I think the image of faith is difficult to define with any precision–and a “crisis of faith” in no way equates to lost faith. When I lost my brother, my faith was challenged. I still have lots of questions about the character of God, including: Is it still true that He really is good? Can I trust Him with the deepest things in my heart? In no way does the presence of those questions mean I’m about to turn away. If Jesus were to ask me if I planned to leave, I would respond like Peter: “Though life hasn’t been exactly as I would have expected, and following You is hard, where else would I go? You alone are the source of life.”
It’s just not easy for me to accept that life has turned out quite differently than I had hoped. I’d prefer to be honest about that–and I think God can handle it.