“As long as my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils, my lips will not speak falsehood, and my tongue will not utter deceit.”
A few weeks ago, my colleague and I presided and preached at six funerals over a three week span of time.
As of today, we have two additional funerals this week!
In ministering to all these families and friends, we’ve seen people grieving in different ways.
All are sad, of course. But some of them are grieving in the sure and certain hope of the happy reunion in heaven for those who fall asleep in Jesus.
Some are just said and numb and still in various stages of shock.
And there are one or two that are angry. Angry at death. Angry at how their loved one died. Angry at God.
I’ve seen quite a few people angry at God when they endure the death of a loved one. I can appreciate this. But I always caution them that even though it is understandable to be angry, they need to be careful not to sin in their anger.
God is big enough and strong enough to handle our anger. And I feel that it is healthy to approach God even though we’re angry because at least we are approaching God! We are still talking to him. We still have faith in him.
Lt. Dan Taylor is Forrest Gump’s platoon leader in Viet Nam. In the action for which Forrest is awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, Lt. Dan loses both of his legs.
Lt. Dan was extremely angry at … well, everyone in the world, about what happened. But most of all, Lt. Dan was angry at God.
He finally has a “showdown” with God during a hurricane. While sitting in the crow’s nest of their shrimp boat, he screams and yells at God for all the hurt and pain he has experienced in being wounded and losing his legs in Viet Nam.
Lt. Dan survives the hurricane and Forrest explains that he felt that Lt. Dan made his peace with God. Lt. Dan is a calm and happier man after that.
When bad things happen to us, it is natural to be angry. And if we believe that God is in control of all things (believing in the providential nature of God), then it is natural to be angry at God.
This is what Job experiences. But while he is angry at God, he refuses to sin in his anger.
Anger is part of relationships, no less so in our relationship with God. But we must not let it destroy our relationships or relationship with God.
By the power of God’s Word and Sacraments – the Means of Grace – we can overcome our anger and continue our relationship with God and with other people.
What we see in the story of Job is that his faith in God grows stronger as he goes through his difficulties. Even when he’s angry, he trusts in God and will entrust all that he has (left) to God.
Lord, no matter what struggle we may endure in this earthly life we know “by God’s power [we] are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). Amen. [Lutheran Study Bible notes, ©2009 Concordia Publishing House, p 815]
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