Why is it so easy to get angry at God? The Old Testament seems to provide examples of a constant tug-of-war between God and the Israelites. The Israelites are presented with an inconvenient situation; they get angry and complain to God, then God in turn becomes angry with the Israelites and inflicts a punishment on them. Finally the Israelites come to their senses and return to God, begging His forgiveness. Over two thousand years later, we, the modern day Israelites, still find ourselves engaged in this tug-of-war. The crucial difference between us and them is that we are fortunate enough to have a Savior who came before us and has already taken on the wrath meant to be inflicted on us due to our sins.
I admit I have fallen prey to this behavior. I found myself angry at God this past weekend. During this time of the liturgical year, we should return to our Lord and renounce any anger toward Him. In these final two weeks leading up to Easter, it is customary to cover all the statues in churches, including the crucifix–Jesus on the cross. This practice is symbolic of Jesus retreating from public ministry as He awaited His time to die on the cross. Although the Lord promises never to leave us, the symbolism we find before Holy Week holds great significance and the notable absence of the Savior is evident.
In my vulnerable and sinful state, my first response was anger and I wanted to cry out to my Father with the same words Jesus used: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” I know deep down He will never abandon me, but there are moments when it feels as though He has. This might be why God’s chosen people have always fallen back into the tug-of-war started in the Old Testament. We are made from dust and to dust we shall return; we really do not deserve anything from our Lord except those punishments that He justly bestowed on the Israelites. Nevertheless, we long for our Father’s love because we are His children. As children, it is natural for us to want things from our Father, and if we don’t get them, we throw temper tantrums. Like a good Father, He reminds us of who we are and who He is. No matter what, everything He does, He does for our ultimate good, even if it is difficult to accept at times.
“‘The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him.’ Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.”—John 8:30
The beauty of God’s design gives us free will. Just as Jesus before us, we have the choice to follow the Lord in spite of every hardship along the path. In choosing to obey our Father, we can trust and believe He will never leave us to be alone.
One thought on “Choose and Obey”
You have captured every parent’s dilemma in this reflection. All parents desire to see their child (or children) happy. Yet often what these children ask for isn’t good for them. How can a parent say no and bear the resulting disappointment, tears, anger, etc.? Our Lord knows what is best for all His children, including His only begotten Son. It must have hurt even His immortal heart to send Jesus to the cross to die. May the perfect love of our Heavenly Father inspire and reassure us as we endeavor to do His will and “choose to obey” Him.