It was Wednesday when I questioned God’s goodness. This isn’t what you want to hear from your ministers, your community leaders and your campus ministry instructors. I’m learning, though, that being in ministry doesn’t mean you don’t feel angry with God. It doesn’t mean you are always happy and in control and perfect. Far from it, my friends.
It was a little colder than normal, and I was meeting my mom for dinner. I went to the house, and she had that face–that broken look of someone who really doesn’t want to tell you something. I have seen it four times in my life, before four funerals for four grandparents. She told me that things were worse with my godmother than they’d thought originally, and the doctors had officially diagnosed her with lung cancer. My thoughts were like a dull headache that roared to a migraine.
I felt like the strong winds blowing against my house were blowing against me, pushing me into the air and flinging me back down. The ironwork chairs in our backyard topple over loudly, and a trash can rolls down the street. There is just me, while my heart, mind, and soul roughhouse within me, tangling and scratching and fighting for air.
I am fighting for air. It’s not the clean answer to “How are you?” is it? It’s not “Keepin’ on” or “Doing what I can” or “It’s getting better.”
I remember when I read A Grief Observed for the first time, after my grandfather died a couple of years ago. I was sitting at my kitchen table after the funeral, and I remember crying with joy that Lewis, a theological and spiritual powerhouse, felt angry with God too.
“The time when there is nothing at all in your soul except a cry for help may be just that time when God can’t give it: you are like the drowning man who can’t be helped because he clutches and grabs. Perhaps your own reiterated cries deafen you to the voice you hoped to hear.” -C.S. Lewis in A Grief Observed
Peace from His Presence
Lots of greats have felt angry with God. Lots have asked “Why?!” Lots have questioned His goodness. I’m not sure, though, if the tantrum did much for them. Lewis says that sometimes the screaming drowns out God’s voice and I believe that. I think there is a time for anger, but there is also a point where you have to take a deep breath and open your eyes to look for God again.
That gives me peace. As I sat there, in the house where I grew up, I remembered something. God is present in the madness. He is present in allowing someone to take care of me, instead of me taking care of everyone else.
We Don’t Have to Be Perfect
Good ministry is a two-way street, and I’m so grateful that ministers don’t have to be perfect. Let me repeat that – we don’t have to be perfect.
He is present, wrapping his arms around us and walking through this with us.
You don’t have to be perfect. Pastors, friends in ministry, you are loved – allow others to take care of you, to bolster you, to cry out to God on your behalf. Give yourself a break, and accept help, accept joy, accept the prayers of friends. You are not perfect, but you are loved and significant and making a difference.
Callie Hyde is an honors student at Baylor University. She writes for a blog called Sincerely, Callie (www.sincerelycallie.com) and is part of Baylor Spiritual Life’s Freshman Retreat, a small group leader at Highland Baptist Church, a Green’s Scholar, and co-creator of Open Book, a group for Baylor freshmen that encourages fellowship and faith with other Christians seeking mentorship and friendship.