That Time I Got Mad at God and Went for a Long Walk

I grew up in church
I grew up memorizing Bible verses
I grew up knowing what sin was
And I spent most of my life not knowing who Jesus was

I knew what sin looked like and sounded like
(Other people’s sin–not my own)
I knew which Bible verses to use to support my opinions
Even if I had to pull them out of context to make my context work

I knew about God
But didn’t particularly like Him
And most of all
I didn’t think He particularly liked me, either

Fast-forward to adulthood and I’m not happy
I’m doing all the right things, saying all the right things
But it feels empty and powerless
And I’m angry at a God I realized I didn’t know well

I knew the Bible
But I only knew about God
I knew what the Bible said
But I didn’t know that God was still speaking to me

I didn’t know that the Bible was meant to reveal
A God who was not contained in a book
Who was not minimized by religion
Who would not be mocked by hypocrisy

Then I got mad at God and went for a long walk around my own head
And somehow took a detour through my confused heart
Along the way I bumped into Jesus
Who wasn’t here to talk sin, as I’d expected

I told Him I didn’t think His “good news” was all that great
“Why are we starting with an angry God who hates us all?” I asked
“Why are many of the Christians I know more miserable than the
Blissfully ignorant sinners?”


I’m tired of all of this
I’m tired of a God who loves us because He “has to”
Because it’s “His character”
I’m tired of a religion that so many people have twisted into abuse

I’m tired of personal struggles that never get better
I’m tired of being critical–or was it discerning?–I lost track
I’m tired of having a relationship with an old book
And having to guess what I’m supposed to do with my life

To my surprise, Jesus just listened for awhile
While I ranted and vented
Groaned and lamented
“I mean, do You have anything to say here?” I asked Him

Indeed, He did

He asked me if I was weary of religious rules
And I said yes
He asked me if I was tired of being burdened by my own failures and misgivings
I said heck yes

“Great!” He said
“I will carry these heavy things for you.
But first, let’s practice taking naps.”
“Naps!” I scoffed. “Don’t You want me working harder?”

“Nope,” He replied
“I did all the work. I set it all up. You can go take a nap.”
So I took a nap and felt better
And then I was ready to get back to work

I found Him working, and He motioned for me to pause
“Look around,” He said
“I made all this–the world, these people, you.
It was all so good.”

I looked around, and did not see the same things
I saw disease and decay, withered hearts and frayed relationships
Fear and anxiety and depression
So much pain, everywhere

I started to tell Him, again, what I thought of His world
But He didn’t pause
“…it’s broken, yes, but I’m fixing it.
I’m not done yet.”

“That’s actually why I came here,” He said
“Because you all needed to know how much
My Father loves you. He’s not angry with you.
He knows you can’t get rid of sin on your own.”

“That’s why He sent Me.”

I tried to interrupt, but He continued
“Where sin made a rift, My Father sent a gift.
He would rather forgive you than punish you.
And He wants His children to live the same way.”

“Wait,” I finally objected
“But I thought God hated sin?
I thought God’s been mad at us this whole time.
This seems too easy.”

Jesus smiled. “He wanted it to be easy.”
“He wanted it to be free.
He used Me to remove your sin,
so there was nothing left holding you back from Him.”

At this point I was speechless, which was no small feat
“So….what do I have to do?” I asked, as one eyebrow tilted upward
“To accept the gift?” Jesus asked. “Just believe Me.”
“When you know you’ve been forgiven, you will do the same.”

“My Father is calling His sons and daughters home.
He’s not mad at what you’ve done, just come home.
He’s not disappointed in you, He just wants you to come home.
Don’t unpack it all at the door, just walk in and let Him celebrate your return.”

This was definitely better news than I’d ever heard
But this couldn’t be “the gospel”
The gospel had to begin with sin
And then Jesus looked at me intensely

“The Gospel is the story of my good Father, not your bad sin.
Go tell them that.”

Photo by Mathieu Bigard on Unsplash


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