Am I Angry at God? Or is God Angry at Me?

Posted in: Christianity, discectomy recovery, Ironman

In the long course triathlon world, I am certainly not the only person to have a rough year or two of injury and/or illness.  And expanding our worldview beyond sport, bad things happen all the time, things far worse than an injury that keeps a person from running or cycling.  Having an “injury” almost this entire year that was of the sort that my existence as an athlete, an identity I’ve had for most of my life, was threatened, most definitely resulted in some time thinking about who or what I would be without running or biking or sports in my life.  I like to think of myself as a well-rounded person, I love school and reading and numbers (heck, I even like doing my taxes except the part when you owe money – haha).  But, I have also loved, even craved, physical activity and pushing my body hard.  Why would God make me this way and then take away my ability to do these things?  Wasn’t I serving Him, seeking Him, paying to go to school to get a Masters Degree in Christian Apologetics so as to be more equipped to serve the Lord?  Shouldn’t things go my way, shouldn’t I have success?

In March 2016, these were the exact questions I was asking.  Why God?  Don’t I “deserve” something good to happen?  I had a rough year in 2014, and thought 2015 would be my year.  I stayed positive, took the step to start school, and made a few other changes and believed with all my heart that the Lord had BIG things in store for me in 2015.  Yup, it’s embarrassing, but that was how SHALLOW my faith was not too long ago.  And BIG things did happen in 2015 for sure.  First, I had this severe injury, and I still can’t be sure I will be back 100%.  But, probably the worst part was to realize how isolated I was.  We all like to think that other people care about us, care about what we are doing and how our lives are going.  I am very fortunate to have two extremely loving (as unconditionally as I think is possible for a human being) people in my life – my husband and my mom.  But through this whole year, I admit that I have been heartbroken by the realization of a hard truth – unless you are actively “seeking attention” or “asking for help,” people, in general, care only as much as it affects them directly.  We are all selfish and self-centered, and if we are to genuinely care for one another and treat each other as Jesus commands, I believe we have to actively fight against our selfish human nature.  I’m convicted for sure!  I am ashamed of the selfish, immature person who back in March was actually angry at God, or thought He was angry with me.  WOW!  As if I deserve anything at all from God!  And the arrogance of an attitude that pretty much implies that God is somehow not acting in my best interest – I was a whiny brat!

Was I seeking God, or was I seeking God for what I thought He could or should do for me?  Did I really have so much arrogance and pride that I believed I was doing God some big favor and he owed me? I’m grateful  for my “Why God Allows Evil” class this past year.  That’s a heavy question, and is probably the number one objection to faith in God.  I’m sure we’ve all heard others say or thought ourselves something along the lines of “I just don’t understand how a good God could let this happen.”  One thing the professor really forced us to examine was human nature (check out www.clayjones.net).  He spent a lot of time studying human atrocities – the fact is we all like to think that genocide and hate are the products of a few psychopaths, but the reality is that it is just normal, everyday people who do such things.  Check out the Stanley Milgram experiment.

It’s a hard thing when you start to open your eyes to the reality of your own sinfulness, the wickedness that is in your heart.  However, it brings the meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Savior, into the proper perspective.  The truth is God does not owe me a fast Ironman, a podium placing, a successful and injury free season; and having some sort of expectation that such worldly blessings will come if I am a “good” Christian is just plain wrong (and sinful).  In fact, if you study the Word of God, we are never promised that everything  in this world will go our way and that we will never suffer if we follow Christ.  It is quite the opposite.  Many people love to quote Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” However, as with all bible verses we have to read them in the context of the verses that surround them.  Paul is talking about being content in all circumstances, whether he has plenty or is in need.  He is not talking about achieving worldly success because we are believers in Christ; he is talking about our ability to stay content with our circumstances, good or bad, because of our faith in Christ.  Because of our belief that we have salvation through Jesus, and a hope for eternity.

For all the focus on what God can do to “bless us” in this world – money, fame, health, etc., the proper focus is on what God has already done for us.  We have a Savior, without whom we are hopeless.  I know there will be a lot of people who think this is crazy, religious talk; however, I encourage you to examine your own heart.  If you think you are good, ask yourself how many negative and disparaging thoughts toward others go through your mind each day?  Ask yourself if you are expecting a reward when you are nice to someone else?  Would you do something to help someone else if you knew you would be hated in return?

 

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