“God, I’m really mad at you,” I muttered under my breath as I slammed my Bible into my nightstand drawer. It didn’t feel like home anymore, nothing felt real, and I certainly didn’t feel like forgiving God. For nearly a year, I hadn’t felt like myself as anxiety and depression gripped my mind.
I fought, desperately trying to reclaim who I once was—someone who saw Jesus as a dear friend, knew God in a deeply personal way, and felt the Spirit move in and out of every part of my day. But between raising four wild and wonderful kids, juggling work, and encouraging others to trust in God with their whole hearts, I had forgotten to trust Him with mine.
I was angry that God let me walk in the wilderness—this season of not feeling His presence and feeling trapped in my own mind. I hated the wilderness.
I know some followers of Jesus who love the wilderness. They love the wind in their hair, the seeking, the time to find God there. They are content with not feeling at home, getting a little lost sometimes. But not me. That’s never been me.
In my anger and frustration, I went months without opening my Bible. I spent the majority of the time yelling at God. And you know what? I found that God can take it. He can take my anger. He can take my temper tantrums. He can take it all.
One day, I finally found the strength to open my Bible, and I discovered myself in Job’s story. Maybe I hadn’t lost my sheep (okay, I never had sheep to begin with), or my children, or my house—but I had felt the weight of the attacks of the enemy from every side. I knew that, like Job, I had the space to get angry but also to forgive God and remember He’s in control.
Here are 4 things I learned about forgiving God:
1. God can handle our angry questions.
When we express frustration or anger toward God, He meets us with grace. Even Jesus wondered why He had to suffer. So don’t be afraid to express your feelings to God. He sees our pain and welcomes our questions.
2. Remember that God is always working all things together for good.
He may allow bad things to happen. God never promised sunshine and roses every day! Trouble and heartache may be heaped on you and overwhelm you to the point where you’re yelling and screaming at Him. But He can take it, and He’s always working toward your good.
3. Allow your offense to become an opportunity to get to know God more intimately.
I can sincerely say that every dark day in my walk with the Lord has only led me closer to Him—even if I yelled and screamed the entire way through like a toddler refusing their broccoli at dinnertime. The wilderness can always bring us close to Him.
4. Remember, God didn’t do anything wrong, but it’s still okay to forgive Him.
This was the key for me to find healing. It’s easy for us to blame God when things don’t go our way because we think He’s out to get us. But God isn’t in the wrong. He’s never out to hurt us or make us suffer for no reason. It’s still okay for us to forgive Him, though, because it can help us to begin to heal and start walking into a healthier relationship with Him.
And let me tell you—I did find healing. Healing that I thought wasn’t possible in those darkest, angriest wilderness days. I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to the point where I’d fully forgive God. But I can say now that we are walking in a new rhythm that feels like something I’ve never known. It feels fresh and different. And I would never have experienced this intimacy had it not been for that wilderness I despised so much. So maybe the wilderness isn’t so bad after all.