Sure, we’re commanded to love God…
…but does that mean we have to always like Him?
I think one of the biggest myths of Christianity, perpetuated by all the smiling faces at church and the cheery, lovey dovey praise songs is that Christians are always amped up on how much we like God.
But if you’ve ever been in love with anyone, you know that you may love them, but there are times when it’s a good thing you love them because you sure don’t like them. Something they do disappoints, annoys or angers you until you can’t stand to look at them. There’s a difference between loving and liking, and Jesus commanded us to love God…probably because liking everything God does is pretty near impossible.
I’ll admit it, God and I have had our differences. Actually, I’ve nearly come to fisticuffs with God on more than one occasion. Trying to have a fistfight with God looks pretty absurd by the way.
So if you love God, but you don’t exactly like Him today, you’re in good company.
Not Complaining is Not Biblical
You know how when you’re about to confront someone “in Christian love,” it’s because they’re doing something you don’t like, right? See, you can love someone, and still get in their face because they’re being a jerk.
I’ve gotten in God’s face “in Christian love” a lot. One time, I arranged a full blown intervention for God. You know, get a bunch of people together to tell Him we love Him, but we don’t like what He’s doing.
Sure, complaining doesn’t seem like a very “Christian” thing to do. But it is the most enduring religious practice on earth. Virtually everyone in the Bible complained to God at some point. Cut out the complaints, you maybe have half your Bible left. Ever since we learned to talk to God, we’ve been griping to Him about what He’s doing wrong. No one likes a Debbie Downer every week at church. But if you don’t like something, it’s probably okay to come to God “in Christian love.”
God’s Got Thick Skin
I will tell you, there have been days where I’ve really let God have it. I didn’t curse Him or anything, but I’ve thrown tantrums. I have yelled at Him. I have told Him exactly the ways He has disappointed me as the Creator and Lord of the universe. I have named a myriad of reasons why my life sucks and it’s His fault. My prayers have followed the formula of: ask, seek, knock, knock harder, start whining, pound on the door with both fists while yelling incoherently.
I have blamed God because it’s too hard to find a job.
I have complained to God about circumstances at church…
Then I complained when the church closed.
And on and on it goes…
Funny thing is God never struck me with lightning, or crushed me with a boulder. He just kind of sat there and took it. I don’t remember reading about God ever smiting someone who complained or yelled or shook his fist. After all, it takes a certain amount of faith to believe in God enough to yell at Him.
It seems like God knows it comes with the territory. If you’re going to be a deity and create a bunch of little people with independent thoughts, they’re going to blame you for everything.
How Do You Intend to Placate Me?
Perhaps God has a plan for my life. But I don’t have to like the plan. It’s really hard to see the good of the plan when you’re in the part of the plan you hate. But usually, after I throw my tantrum, I start talking normally again, and I feel better about things. Sometimes God answers. I can’t keep complaining. Perpetual negativity depresses me.
Is complaining the most effective way to pray? No. Being a crybaby isn’t all that cool. But it’s probably something we’ve all done anyway. We just don’t like to admit it in polite company. We have “prayer requests” in church and pity-parties at home. We do it when we’re alone and we’re sure no one but God is going to know just how much like a three-year-old we can act.
But now’s your chance. Tell us something that you’ve complained to God about recently. Get it off your chest. If it had a good resolution, tell us that too. If it’s something you’re still mumbling and grumbling about, that’s okay too.