Daily Devotion Feb. 1, 2024

 “God said to Jonah, ‘Is your anger about the shrub a good thing?’ Jonah said, ‘Yes, my anger is good—even to the point of death!’” (Jonah 4:9, CEB).

     How do you forgive God? Yes, you read correctly. How do you forgive when you are angry with God?

     Before you brand me a heretic, please read Jonah’s story carefully (Jonah 4:1-11). Jonah was angry with God. God had sent Jonah to Nineveh to preach to the people of that city and Jonah didn’t appreciate the task one bit. Nineveh was the capitol city of Babylon—the country that had ransacked Jerusalem and taken the Jews hostage. Jonah despised the Babylonian people.

     To make Jonah even sorer than he was, the people of Nineveh repented of their sins against the Jews. So, God spared the city from divine destruction and Jonah didn’t care for God’s compassion toward his enemy one bit. In Jonah’s mind, God did not act fairly.

     Sadly, the story concludes before we find out whether or not Jonah ever reconciled with God. So, we are left with my initial question. How do you forgive when you are angry with God?

     There are always instances when God fails to live up to our expectations. God may not do so intentionally yet His actions can leave us feeling disappointed, if not disenchanted. We are left to deal with our own unfulfilled dreams and hopes.

     Yet, God doesn’t need our forgiveness simply because He has done nothing wrong. So, our best option is absolution. We must absolve God of responsibility for our unhappiness.

     Personally, I don’t relish the thought of being angry with God. Anger tends to alienate persons from one another. I can’t imagine living apart from my Friend. Given my need for a relationship with God, I have no other recourse but absolution. Exonerating God of culpability for acting in ways contrary to my expectations is most beneficial for me.

     So, for those of you who are dealing with the confusion and frustration of prayers that go unanswered in the ways you wish, be honest with the Lord about your feelings. Grieve any losses in the manner you must. Express your anger in ways that purge the spiritual toxins from your soul.

     But, when all is said and done, offer yourself the best gift you’ll receive all week. Stop pointing the finger of accusation at God and reconcile with your True Love. If you don’t, you will only be inflicting more injury upon yourself.

Lord Jesus, thank you for patiently listening to me when I vent. I do not wish for anything to come between the two of us, most especially any unresolved anger I have toward you. Please free me from any misgiving I harbor against you, and remind me that regardless of the circumstance you always have my best interest in mind. Through Christ’s name I pray. Amen.