HAVING JUST LOST all of his wealth, daughters, and sons, Job falls to the ground and cries out, "The Lord has given; the Lord has taken; bless the Lord's name."
What a beautiful sentiment, right? No matter what happens, God's name is still to be praised.
But Job isn't finished — the rest of the book of Job's 40 chapters is complaint after complaint lodged against God. Job asserts his innocence; he knows that he has acted righteously, and demands that God be brought to court.
Job's friends, attempting to console him, quote various passages from the Psalms and Proverbs. God, they say, is just; clearly the fault must lie with Job, since God never causes the innocent to suffer. According to them, Job is the one who must repent and seek mercy from God.
Today, we often echo this same advice to people experiencing hardships or difficult circumstances: You'll get through this. It's still important to worship God. None of this will matter once we're in heaven. God is still sovereign.
While this may be familiar, there's something missing from this perspective. Strangely, when God finally intervenes, God says that He's angry at the friends — not Job — because they didn't speak about God correctly. "Job My servant will pray for you ... because you didn't speak correctly, as did My servant Job" (Job 42:8 CEB).
God, it seems, being unquestionable in divine wisdom, cares less about the complaints nor accusations, and more about how people interact with Him. Job's friends, in seeing God as an unchallengeable supreme being, fail to see that God seeks relationship, not protecting divine ego.
God cares less about the complaints nor accusations, and more about how people interact with Him.
Should we be surprised by this? This is, after all, a God who wrestles — and loses — to the man formerly called Jacob. Whom Abraham bargains with before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Who allows Himself to be washed with a sinful woman's tears and hair in front of the local officials and leaders.
This is why we're starting off this year with the topic of anger. Although such an emotion can be divisive, temperamental, and even dangerous, we have a right to be angry when it comes to pain and injustice, and to bring it before God.
We worship a God who can handle our fits and our tantrums, our fists and our cries. If that's not what relationship means — to be at our very best and our very worst and still be fully known and loved — I don't know what is.
We worship a God who can handle our fits and our tantrums, our fists and our cries.
Go ahead. It's OK to be angry.