Written by Amanda

11/21/2017

Do You Have Good Reason To Be Angry At God?


In the summer of 2012, I had a case of baby fever.

We had two kids, the youngest was two, and it just felt like someone was missing from our family.

But I looked at my life and the struggles my husband and I were facing. I knew I needed to surrender this desire to the Lord instead of the over-thinking, talking-it-to-death that I tend to do. So I did. I prayed and handed it over. And I have to admit that I felt pretty proud of myself for being so wise and insightful in surrendering this to the Lord.

Not even a full month later, and I found out I was pregnant. While preventing! A miracle! God sees the desires of my heart! Then I miscarried. Two months later, pregnant again. A few days later, not. I stuffed down the questions, the pain, and the frustration, resolved to never take another pregnancy test, and attempted to move on with life.

Eight months later, my husband and I began to pray and believed, Lord-willing, it was time to try for another baby. Only we never really got the chance, because I had morning sickness and the realization I was already pregnant.

At ten weeks, I went in for an ultrasound. My doctor gave me the news: not viable. My baby was no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence. Life had stopped forming at five weeks—like every other miscarriage I’d had that year—only this time my body didn’t get the memo.

I had been carrying death the whole time I’d been rejoicing.

I felt out of control, like my body was some kind of death trap. I couldn’t prevent myself from getting pregnant, and I couldn’t keep myself pregnant.

I wanted to take the whole lot of it and tie up my tubes so that I could never ever lose again. I wanted a baby, but another miscarriage felt impossible. Also, I wanted the control back.

I was angry at God like I had never been angry at God. I’d thought I had a pretty deep faith, but I couldn’t see how I’d make it through this with my faith still intact.

As we reach the end of the book of Jonah, we see a man angry at God.

At first, Jonah tried to flee the will of God to avoid being a part of God’s big showing of mercy to the Ninevites. Then, Jonah obeys and goes to Nineveh, and just as he had predicted, God stays His wrath at the repentance of the people of Nineveh. Sulking and angry, Jonah takes himself outside the city in bitter protest.

We might have thought that Jonah surrendered in the depths of the sea, but we see here at the end of this book, surrendering to God’s will isn’t that simple. And when it comes to the complicated intersections of our faith, it also isn’t a one-time thing.

I had this funny idea of surrender that looked an awful lot like entitlement. I surrender to God, I get the desires of my heart. I go through a trial, I get a shiny reward at the end. And not that those two statements aren’t true (See Proverbs 3:5-6 and James 1:12 for starters). It’s just that I thought I got to be the one who knew what an appropriate trial was, when I’d had my fill of the trial, and what and when the reward should be.

My surrender was contingent on me still being in control. {Basically, the exact opposite of surrender.}

I love the way the poet Alexander Pope penned the plight of man almost three hundred years ago:

“Go, wiser thou! and, in thy scale of sense
Weigh thy opinion against Providence…
Snatch from His hand the balance and the rod,
Rejudge His justice, be the God of God.”

(Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man, Epistle I)

 

Be the God of God? Ouch! But we do that. Deep down, we think we know better than God. Whether it’s in the wake of tragedy or in the extravagance of God’s mercy on the “least deserving,” we think we know better than God.

God asks Jonah, “Do you have good reason to be angry?” (Jonah 4:4). And really, it’s the same question God led me to after three losses.

Who can knit together a life in the womb but the hand of God? Who can number the days of our lives but God? Whose perspective can span from infinity to infinity and work things together for good but God? Did any one of those embryos ever leave the hand of God? Did my womb? Were they not ever only safe within His hold?

Could I not see that as painful as it was to lose, I am a woman who has been touched by the very hand of God? That I have carried His plans and purposes—even if for but a moment? That though I grieve, I do not grieve as one without hope, for we have the glorious promise of one day?

In October, fourteen months after that first miscarriage, I miscarried again.

I know. You are probably waiting for the moment this story gets better. But hold on, I have to tell you about this fourth miscarriage, because it’s where I learned to surrender.

After that fourth loss, I found myself trying to make sense of my losses—are we meant to adopt? Maybe two kids are exactly what God has called us to raise? Maybe it’s just not time?

It’s like I was holding all the ashes of my burned up dreams and trying to rearrange the pieces. It’s like I was trying to make them beautiful for God.

Only God can make beauty from ashes. Only God.

Surrender isn’t just handing over your broken dreams, it’s releasing them. Surrender is releasing all rights and obligations. Surrender is seeing ourselves rightly in the light of all that God is—that God is bigger, wiser, better, and more capable than we could ever comprehend.

That fall, I planted tulip and daffodil bulbs in my front yard. I felt I needed something to bury, something to physically surrender, something to stand in place of the babies I had lost. I buried each one of those potential flowers, surrendering them to the soil where they would lie dormant till spring.

The thing about bulbs is that freezing temperatures actually pull them into a dormant state—if we didn’t know their spring secret, we might say they were dead. And the hard gospel truth: it is death that precedes resurrection.

Honest, guys, surrender feels like dying.

But here’s the thing. Come spring, when my planter was bright and bouncing with yellow and pink blooms, I was feeling the tiny flutters of the little boy we would name Samuel kicking within me. {Two years old now, and let me tell you, he is full of life}

Death precedes resurrection.

I wish I could tell you that having a baby after so much loss was sunshine and roses. Okay, it is a little bit. But it’s also hard. Really hard. To have come face to face with how fragile life is, how God can give and take away, to know how hard it is to bless His name anyway—my heart might always bear the scars of suffering.

But if I have learned anything and if the story of Jonah can tell us one thing: God’s grace is boundless. He pursued Jonah into the depths. He kept pursuing Jonah in his anger. He pursued me even when I hurled accusations at Him. He pursued me though I fought fist-clenched for control.

While I may never fully understand the why’s of loss, never once has His hand left my life. Even when I was ready to turn my back on Him, He loved me first and He loves me still.

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Amanda is a law enforcement wife and a homeschooling mom to three. Her family has called Reality Church of Stockton home for three years. When Amanda’s not pulling her toddler off the bookshelf or explaining to picky eaters why vegetables need to be eaten, she enjoys iced lattes, bird watching, and deep conversations. She lives clinging to the hope she has in Christ that in spite of all her short-comings, she shall be called an overcomer yet. You can also find her writing her broken stories on her blog at Amanda Conquers.