Shouting at God: Looking for Answers in Suffering
As a leader of an international inner-healing ministry, I deal with many people who struggle to connect with God. They either feel stuck, lost, or hopeless. Many of these people believe lies about themselves or suffer long-held wounds from childhood. These individuals seek wholeness, healing, and normalcy. They want the path that builds and strengthens their connections with the Lord.
I wrote The Book of Healing to help believers in their pursuit of Father God, the Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Studying the book of Job, I found some information for doing this.
The Book of Healing grew out of my attempts to see Job in a new light. I am not a poetry person, so Job was always a difficult book to read. Then one day, my son gave me a copy of the Message Bible—the text translated into modern speech—and it made a huge difference!
Examining Job, I realized how familiar its characters’ struggles felt. In many ways, their thoughts and struggles mirrored those of my clients. Even the advice from Job’s friends resembled the words my clients and I had experienced from friends and family members.
These revelations got me thinking—what if Job was more than just a book on human suffering? Its contents certainly dealt with the issue, but what if there were secrets inside that could bring us closer in our relationships with God?
The book of Job depicts painful circumstances and discusses the options we have for understanding it. It fails, however, to truly bring an obvious answer in how to rationalize pain’s existence. Perhaps this is why Job is such a frustrating book for some readers. In all the talk about why human suffering exists, neither Job, his friends, nor even God provides an answer.
Many search Job for an explanation on human suffering—but maybe that’s not the point of the book. This got me thinking: if explaining the reasons for hardship is not discussed in the book, then why was it written? Reading the story, we see it begins in heaven, then follows Job as he searches for answers, then goes to him debating his friends as they try to convince him of his sin. The story ends when God appears to present a different viewpoint.
The book begins with God’s interaction with satan in heaven and ends with Job encountering the Lord and acknowledging who He is. In-between this transformation is a busy section of theology—mostly carried out by Job’s friends.
Once Job goes through his journey of discovery, he repents for living on “limited knowledge” of God and receives inner healing (see Job 42:6). His friends learn a lesson of who God is and Job receives more from God than he ever lost.
I too remember a time when I said and felt similar things to what Job expresses. I was having similar thoughts of “Where’s God?” and “Why is all this happening?” My childhood was one where I learned that life was not very safe—and it was better not to be around when adults were present. In truth, I actually remember very little about my childhood.
As I became an adult, I began searching for the “normal” life. Venturing down this path, I discovered Christianity. In the churches I attended, leaders shared their interpretations of how to best live redeemed lives. This included going to church almost every day; being involved in activities the pastors suggested; and doing my best to be a religious woman, wife, and mother who could stay home and provide a stress-free environment for the kids.
I tried to be my best self—an experience I thought that was indicated in the Bible. Yet I knew my experience, which was full of fear, anger, and frustration, was not like everybody else’s. I didn’t know how to do life other than what I already knew. Like Job, I felt I was doing the best I could, yet people kept telling me how broken I was. This led to both confusion and frustration. I knew there were wounds inside, but I kept trying to handle things alone. To make matters worse, when I tried to talk with people about my issues, nobody listened.
In the midst of this turmoil, I began to wonder why I had ever been born—and why I was actually alive. If I had never existed from the beginning, then I wouldn’t have had to deal with so many problems.
I finally reached my end and decided I was finished with church and Christian culture. I was done hiding my anger at God.
After voicing my misery, Father God stepped in and began some conversations with me. At first, I was not happy. I wanted Him to give me answers and explain why my childhood had been so difficult. I needed to understand why my experience had been so different from others. What I needed was an explanation, but He wanted to give me affection and love, which actually made my anger worsen.
Father God and I held some heated conversations back and forth. I wanted Him to listen to my cries and change my circumstances. I needed Him to do what I wanted.
I remember one time when we were “talking” that I got so angry I started yelling at Him about my past, my hurts, and life. I actually began kicking His shins and blaming Him for all the issues that had occurred in my life.
After I finished, God looked at me, took my face in His hands, and kissed me all over. I raged all the more! In all our debates, He never fixed or changed anything; He just continued to love me.
In all this, He never got mad or punished me. To be honest, I actually expected some sort of rebuke. I had been told my entire life that it was sinful to be mad at God, and I could never come to Him unless I was happy and ready to do everything He wanted. I desired and even expected punishment; instead, He gave me affection.
God continued to treat me with kindness; I eventually grew to see that what I needed was not answers to my problems, but someone to love me and be there for me no matter what. In all my times of yelling and complaints, God remained faithful and listened. I didn’t realize it at first, but this eventually began to “fill my empty bucket.”
I realized that finding answers did not have to be the driving force behind my happiness. I could allow Him to show me love and give myself permission to be honest with Him because I knew He would not get angry at how I expressed my feelings.
I started going to God to tell Him how I felt and what I thought, even when my feelings and thoughts were uncomfortable. When I waited for punishment to come, it never did.
God did not change the people or situations around me, but He did slowly take care of me. Now when I am bothered by people or situations, I go to Him. I avoid asking questions about my circumstances and instead ask how He plans to take care of me.
Answers do not always come the way I want or in the preferred timing, but I have learned He will take care of me, which is actually what I always needed.
The Book of Healing approaches the book of Job from this perspective. I hope that, in reading it, you will be inspired to think differently. Perhaps Job is just a book on suffering to you, and that’s fine, but maybe there is more. Possibly, you will come to see Job as a lesson on inner healing. At the very least, I hope to encourage you to rethink a very familiar story and to see if its pages inspire you to seek a closer relationship with the Lord.