Does God Get Mad?
For we are consumed by your anger; by your wrath we are overwhelmed. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your countenance. – Psalm 90:7-8 (NRSV)
Does God get mad? It depends who you ask. Some say, “No, never.” For them, God is benevolent, always. When good things happen, it’s thanks to God. When bad things happen, it’s something else, usually unspecified … maybe global warming? We are left to wonder.
Others say God does indeed get mad and bad things happening are God’s punishments. This view gets tricky whenever there’s a natural disaster: what did all those innocent children washed away by the tsunami do to make God mad? We’re still wondering.
Many people firmly hold one or the other of these views of God and are deeply invested in their rightness. It’s more than a matter of theology. On this question, people seem to choose the answer that’s most emotionally satisfying for them. Somethings, that’s all you have to go on.
But when you want to know more about what God is like, if you’re not so certain about it, it’s often a good idea to read the Bible (and occasionally live your life) with your mind not made up. The Bible, like life, is a lot more revealing when we don’t approach it as if it were a cable news channel – telling all its stories from one or the other point of view.
The Bible is full of people who don’t know what to believe, who change their minds, who start and stop believing. When you read the Bible with your mind not made up, you find real people in there – people you can learn from. But you have to read their stories without your mind made up, or else all you’ll learn is what you already think you know.
Dear God, let me live today without my mind made up about every last little thing. Amen.
This devotional by Tina Villa also appears in OMG: Devotionals for Teens and Young Adults, a collection of devotionals intended to support readers in connecting with God at their own pace, in their own way. Order OMG here.