Finding God in Our Anger

Woman at nightfall with quote on emotions crying to be heard.

Many of us are uncomfortable with anger, likely because we’ve seen the damage the emotion, uncontrolled, can produce. We’ve probably, on occasion, created wreckage ourselves. I’ve done both. I’ve been deeply hurt by the rash actions of others, but I’ve also allowed corrosive words to erupt from my mouth.

All that pain and ugliness from the past can motivate me to squelch my anger. But God has shown me, while He is pleased when I guard what I say—the Holy Spirit has given me the gift of self-control, after all—He’s not so thrilled when I suppress and deny my feelings.

Instead, He wants me to investigate and untangle them. To get to their root.

Scripture says, “In your anger do not sin” (Eph. 4:26a). In other words, some situations and encounters will make us mad. And the emotion itself isn’t sin, but it can easily, much too easily in fact, lead to sin—especially when we see it as a signal to spring into action. We simply cannot handle the intensity of such an emotion on our own, not if we want to respond with godliness.

We need to learn to pause. To really sit in our anger, to wrestle with ourselves and with God. Most importantly, to find Him—His heart—in our emotional angst.

As we do, we begin to understand, on a soul-deep level, what grieves and provokes His Father’s heart. When my anger stems from selfishness or pride, He’ll show me, lovingly drawing me into His cleansing embrace.

Image of woman staring out a window with quote from post.

Other times, He’ll take me deeper, revealing where our souls connect, where we grieve together. As Dr. Allender, co-author of the Cry of the Soul states, “Righteous anger” —like what burns within me when I see a child abused, the weak oppressed, and a life destroyed— “warns, invites, and wounds for the greater work of redemption. It is full of strength that is neither defensive nor vindictive, and it is permeated by a sadness that is rich in desire and hope. … Righteous anger grieves and struggles with God: ‘What are You doing, God? What am I to understand about You?’”

My deepest angst becomes a call to intimacy, to discover more of my heart and God’s and where they intercept. A call to worship, and then, and only then, to action. Because as Dr. Allender so wisely states, “Our reaction to the pain and injustice of life will only move toward godly anger if we own up to our struggle with God and move toward Him with our questions.”

About a month ago, God walked me through this journey. It’d been a tough weekend where I felt bombarded by evil on every side. Someone using their religious authority to break up a marriage and friend groups. Another using their power to wound a young heart. And still another, a leader, creating ripples of dysfunction that drove numerous people from the church.

Ignited by the injustice, the wrongness, of it all, I immediately became engulfed in spiraling thoughts. Thoughts that, frankly, centered on me. On what I wanted to say or do or how I would “fix” the situation. But then I sensed God’s gentle whisper, “I’m here.” So I paused, right there in my bathroom, to pray.

To see Him and His heart, one that was even more grieved than mine.

There was beauty and comfort in that. In sharing that moment with my Savior, the loving and self-sacrificing lamb, absolutely, but also the sovereign, all-powerful lion of Judah who fights for His beloved. The One who always has a plan, and who will show me, in His timing, the role I am to play.

He is just.

He is righteous.

He is the defender of the vulnerable and oppressed.

I know many of you have experienced inner turmoil over all that is and has been occurring in our world at large and your more personal world. Righteous anger God shares. And we know that one day He will make all things right. Until then, we wrestle with ourselves, with Him, and seek His heart and His will, trusting in and waiting on the God who sees, hears, feels, and acts according to His perfect timing, His perfect love, and His infinite wisdom.

Let’s talk about this! How do you typically respond to feelings of anger? Do you suppress, lash out, or investigate? How might seeking God’s heart in the middle of your anger deepen your understanding and intimacy with Him? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage one another.

I’d love to connect with you on social media! You can find me on Facebook and Instagram, and you can listen to the latest Faith Over Fear podcast episode here:

How to Have Peace When God Is Silent – Ep. 110 Faith Over Fear

Everything feels easier when we sense God is guiding us. But what do we do when it seems as if God isn’t responding to our prayers? During periods of divine silence, we might assume that we have done something to make God angry or turn away from us. If we carry shame and unhealed wounds, we might be tempted to view God’s supposed non-response as confirmation of the inner lies that tell us we’re worthless, discardable, or a failure. Our assurance grows, however, when we fill those gaps with truth and remember and reflect upon God’s heart.In this episode, Jennifer Slattery discusses some of the common assumptions people make during periods of divine silence, what these assumptions reveal, and various truths that can help us stand in the full assurance of God’s grace. Resource mentioned:Your Daily Bible Verse podcast, April 5th, 2022:https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/your-daily-bible-verse/id1477482900Find Wholly Loved Ministries at:https://www.WhollyLoved.comJoin the private Faith Over Fear Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/442736966614671Join the Private Wholly Loved Community Group (also on Facebook):https://www.facebook.com/groups/443325386241769Questions:1. What resonated with you most in today’s episode?2. Can you share a time when you felt God wasn’t answering your prayers? How did you feel?3. Did you learn anything through that seemingly silent period?4. Why is it important to remind ourselves of God’s character and heart toward us?5. During times of silence, why is it important to reflect on God’s grace?6. What Scripture passages do you turn to when you wait on God (for answers or intervention)?7. Is there anything you’re doing, or not doing, on your end that might drown out God’s voice?8. What are some of the ways God speaks to us? (Name as many as you can think of.)9. Why is it important that we consistently read our Bibles?10. What is one action step God is asking you to take after having listened to today’s episode?
  1. How to Have Peace When God Is Silent – Ep. 110
  2. The Power of Breath Prayer to Calm Your Anxiety (with Jennifer Tucker) – Ep. 109
  3. The Courage to Embrace Career Risk – Ep. 108
  4. The Courage to Surrender Our Hurts to Jesus – Ep. 107
  5. Trusting God’s Promise to Use Our Suffering for Good – Ep. 106

2 Comments

  1. I have been struggling to understand more about God’s justice. Often when I read what people write as you did about Him making all things right, I would like very much to understand that better.

    1. Good morning, friend! That’s a big subject! 🙂 And a complicated one that also involves His mercy and grace, making the issue more confusing for sure! If I see resources that go deeper into this, I’ll definitely point them your way. And feel free to ask specific questions. I may not have the answers (probably won’t. haha!) but maybe I could point you to someone who could answer.

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