If You’re Angry at God Because of Your Child’s Diagnosis, Read This - Finds.Life.Church

If You’re Angry at God Because of Your Child’s Diagnosis, Read This

by Alice Thomas

My husband and I sat in stunned silence as the neonatologist told us there was a good chance our unborn baby may have a disability. I kept staring at the ultrasound picture in my hand, looking for the ‘markers’ he was talking about, but I couldn’t see anything, and the baby in the grainy picture looked perfect to me. What should have been a happy footnote in our parenting journey turned into the day I tried to wish away so many times. I left the appointment stunned, shocked, and broken. I felt hurt and betrayed by the one who should always have my back—in short, I was angry at God.

It took a year after our son, Caleb, was born to get a diagnosis, which was based solely on his physical features. The gene for his disorder would not be discovered until Caleb was nine, at which point he was tested and confirmed with having Cardiofaciocutaneous Syndrome, CFC for short. It is a rare genetic disorder. Most individuals with CFC have varying degrees of intellectual and developmental delays. Caleb has mild heart problems, moderate skin problems, and functions at a five-year-old level, although his linguistic skills are more in the toddler range. But, ironically, Caleb’s most serious health issues are his food allergies, which actually have nothing to do with his genetic disorder.

It was 22 years ago that the neonatologist gave us the shocking news, yet I can still remember my tidal wave of emotions. The prognosis changed the future of our lives. All the sadness, disappointment, and brokenness I felt at receiving the news was channeled into anger and left me feeling immensely angry at God.

Anger is a primary emotion that prowls behind every obstacle, hindrance, and setback—waiting to pounce and devour. If I allow myself to become its victim, I will become more angry, bitter, and resentful. Unresolved anger is an infectious disease. Left untreated, it ravages the body, mind, and spirit by destroying joy, hope, peace, and even love. Thankfully, I’ve learned how to prevent my anger from becoming debilitating. It’s a simple three-step cleanse: question, vent, and reaffirm.

Try these three steps the next time you feel angry at God.

1. Question. There are always deeper, secondary emotions behind anger. The first thing I do is find them. I ask myself questions like: Why is this situation making me angry? Am I angry with God? What did I expect God to do? I have to be intentional, vulnerable, and honest. It’s about removing all the dirt and blood so the wound can be exposed and properly treated.

Once anger cools, I can realize that beneath my anger toward God are feelings of betrayal, hurt and even abandonment. I’ve felt betrayed because God was not keeping what I thought was His end of the bargain. I’ve felt hurt that God would allow such suffering to happen to one of His children. I’ve felt abandoned and left alone to deal with the consequences of an unknown future. When I get a handle on the root issues that triggered my anger, I can start tackling them.

2. Vent. I vent in writing. It could be in my journal, a random piece of paper, or on the computer. I don’t worry about what I’m writing or try to stem the flow of words because it’s about releasing the harmful pathogens coiled up inside. I’ve learned never to be afraid or ashamed to admit anything to God because when we vent our anger toward God, we are being honest with ourselves. God already knows, so we might as well be truthful with Him.

My venting read something like this: “Why did You give my unborn baby a disability? Why would You hurt him? I feel so inadequate for this task. Why do I need to follow You when I can feel just as much pain living for myself? You are a God who is supposed to be gracious and compassionate. I can’t see grace or compassion in these circumstances,” and so on.

3. Reaffirm. After I vent, the critical question I ask myself each and every time I am angry with God is, Do I trust God? Ultimately, it’s not about what God did or didn’t do. It all boils down to whether I trust Him or not. Do I trust God can still work in setbacks? Do I trust God will give me the wisdom I need to parent a child with a disability? I try to be as specific as I can on exactly what I’m trusting God for just as I was very specific about why I am angry with God.

I reaffirm with a prayer. My formula is very simple—I acknowledge my fears and concerns first and then use the phrase “but I trust You” to redirect my spirit. This is a natural transition from all the negativity of venting, and a reminder of hope. This is the kind of prayer I pray after I vent:

Father, I don’t know where this journey will take me, and I’m scared, but I trust You will be with me. This is not the path I would’ve chosen for myself, but I trust Your ways and thoughts are so much higher than mine. I feel overwhelmed and inadequate to be the parent of a child with a disability, but I trust You will give me the wisdom I need when I need it. I know You started this work in my baby and trust You will also finish the work in him. I trust one day I will see the completed work in heaven. I trust You created this baby for a purpose. Even if everyone else says he is a result of a random mutation—a genetic mistake—I know You knit him together in my womb, and You make no mistakes. You have a purpose for his life. You don’t measure a person’s worth by outward appearances. My circumstances are overwhelming, but I trust You will be with me, directing me each step of the way, giving me the strength, patience, and perseverance I need.

When my prayer is done, I tear up the paper I wrote my vent on, toss it in the garbage, and say “But I will trust you, Jesus.” If it’s a computer document, I delete the document and say the same phrase.

Here are some Bible verses I find helpful when I’m redirecting my soul to focus on God’s goodness and sovereignty rather than my anger, pain, and disappointment.

Questioning, venting, and reaffirming my trust in God helped me overcome feeling angry at God after receiving the initial diagnosis. It is something I continue to practice because it brings me so much peace. “But I trust You, God” is my mantra and weapon of choice every time I see anger rearing its head. It takes my eyes off my circumstances and fixes them firmly on Jesus.