I’ve been blogging over the past few weeks on what hinders our connection with God. Read the entire series here.
There is a huge difference between not understanding God, even complaining to him about our plight, and being bitter with him about it. Job experienced severe loss, great physical pain, and relationship difficulties that would trigger deep depression in most of us. Job was confused, hurt, and angry, but in all of this, Job did not get bitter toward God. Job spoke honestly about his feelings, all the while hoping in God’s character (Job 13:15, Job 16:19-21, Job 19:25-27).
Although we’d be ashamed to admit it, some of us are in a relationship with God only for what he gives us.
Our bitterness exposes this truth. So does our chronic grumbling and complaining (Exodus 16:8). When God doesn’t come through for us as we’d like or expect him to, our bitterness says, “God, you’ve failed me. You do not love me very well. You’re not giving me what I need to live my life the way I want or planned.”
This was Jonah’s response to God when God allowed the vine that sheltered him to wither. Jonah became so angry with God that he said, “I am angry enough to die” (Jonah 4:9). Through this loss, God was trying to show Jonah that their relationship was superficial and hindered by Jonah’s self-centeredness and lack of love. Jonah desired God’s favor and love for himself, but he didn’t want to show God’s compassion or love to others.
These painful experiences aren’t meant to drive us from God, but to expose our sin and our incorrect or distorted view of God. Often in our anger, we’re not honestly looking for God. We’re just looking for him to make things better for us or give us what we want. In order to remove this stumbling block, we must learn to humble ourselves, allowing God to be God and draw near to him so that he can change our heart.
If you find yourself chronically angry and bitter with God because you feel he’s gypped you out of something you need, understand you’ve fallen for the oldest lie Satan’s used. Isn’t that what he told Eve? You need more than God already gave you?
How do we change this mindset? In this week of Thanksgiving, learn to be thankful. God always loves us and cares for us even when we’re mad at him or involved with other loves, but we might not be noticing it or appreciating it because all we have eyes for is what we’re lacking.
Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, each morning write in your journal three to five specific things you can thank God for. At the end of the day, draw your attention to ways God has shown his love and care for you that day. Thank him.
Our relationship with others grows deeper and sweeter when we appreciate them and notice the little things they do for us.
The same is true with God.