God, I am Not Happy

I live in disgrace all day long, and my face is covered with shame at the taunts of those who reproach and revile me, because of the enemy, who is bent on revenge. All this came upon us, though we had not forgotten you; we had not been false to your covenant. Our hearts had not turned back; our feet had not strayed from your path. But you crushed us and made us a haunt for jackals; you covered us over with deep darkness. (Ps. 44:15-19 NIV)

I never sat in the company of revelers, never made merry with them; I sat alone because your hand was on me and you had filled me with indignation. Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable? You are to me like a deceptive brook, like a spring that fails.  (Jer. 15:17-18 NIV)

The above prayers by the psalmist and Jeremiah are very accusatory toward God. Jeremiah seems as if he no longer trusts what God says. The psalmist believes God has abandoned him for no good reason.

How do you react to these prayers? Many cringe at the thought of saying things like this to God. But I believe that such prayers are examples of a close relationship. No matter how much the psalmist or Jeremiah rail against God, they never lose their trust and love of God. And, it seems, they felt God’s love and trust in them.[1]

God is big enough to take on our anger, our hurt, our rage and not reject us or condemn us. This is a key trait of love.

I married, I believe, the most patient, faithful, and forgiving woman to ever have lived. She has put up with my anger, fears, frustrations, and bouts of childishness and has stayed with me for over 40 years. If you ask her why she has put up with me she will tell you she loves me. I have no doubt as to the sincerity of this statement. She channels the love and grace of the Holy Spirit in her continuously. She is not a doormat. She is strong when she needs to be but always comes down on the side of grace. She reflects God to me in my life.

We may not be able to control the situations and conditions we encounter in life, but we can choose to reflect upon them and put them in their proper perspective.  We can choose how they are to be interpreted.

I would love to tell you that there was a program, a guide, a special formula that would allow you to be completely in control of your emotions and that you would never be emotionally reactive by always emotionally responsive, but no one can give you such a promise. We are human, finite, limited, fallen, and if we are alive, emotional. Whether it is anger at a pesky fly or a rude motorist, we can be caught off guard and react. I also know from over 40 years of experience in the pastorate that events will happen to most of us if not all of us that causes us to question God.

I have also, through my own prayer life and experienced with God, that God is fine with us expressing our displeasure with God’s action or inaction. God wants us to come to God with everything we feel, including our anger.

If you ever feel that you have been unfairly treated by life, that you did all the right things and still had nothing to show for it, you can use this psalm (and Jeremiah’s prayer) as a model of how to tell God. You may, however, feel inhibited about doing so.[2]

Being honest with our own feeling is spiritual health and indicates our growth in spiritual maturity. God wants us to be honest. God, like anyone who really cares for us, wants to know how we feel even when our feelings toward God are questioning and not positive.


[1] William A. Barry, SJ. Praying the Truth: Deepening Your Friendship with God through Honest Prayer (Kindle Locations 778-781). Loyola Press. Kindle Edition.

[2] William A. Barry, SJ. Praying the Truth: Deepening Your Friendship with God through Honest Prayer (Kindle Locations 725-727). Loyola Press. Kindle Edition.