That’s how the Associated Press report, dated March 15, 1999, started out.
It went on to explain: “A Pennsylvania man’s lawsuit naming God as a defendant has been thrown out by a court in Syracuse [NY].” After a longtime battle with his former employer (then called U.S. Steel), Donald Drusky had blamed God—officially—for failing to bring him justice as a result of his firing by the company some thirty years earlier.
“Defendant God is the sovereign ruler of the universe,” the lawsuit read, “and took no corrective action against the leaders of his church and his nation for their extremely serious wrongs which ruined the life of Donald S. Drusky.”
According to the news report, “U.S. district Judge Norman Mordue threw out the case. Mordue ruled that the suit—which also named former U.S. presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush, the major U.S. television networks, all 50 states, every single American, all federal judges, and the 100th through 105th congresses as defendants—was frivolous.”
As ludicrous as all this sounds to rational people, in a sense Drusky’s diatribe is different only in degree from what I hear a lot of people saying these days.
As I read the letters and e-mails people send to our ministry and listen to people share their stories, one of the recurring themes is: “I’m angry.”
“Angry at my husband.”
“Angry at my children.”
“Angry at my parents.”
“Angry at my pastor.”
And sometimes, after they get through all those layers, I hear them express something that is really at the heart of the matter:
“I’m angry at God.”
Even godly people like Gracia Burnham are sometimes tempted to direct their resentment toward God. You may have picked up on it in the last chapter. In listing the many causes of her plight while being trapped as a hostage in the Philippines, she singled out the people. She named names. She saw faces. Then she pointed to a face she couldn’t see, yet someone she felt must somehow be at least partially responsible for her suffering—
It came out in the excerpt I shared from her testimony: “I even blamed God,” she said, “because . . . well, He’s in control of everything, isn’t He?”
After all, if He’s supposed to be all-powerful, He could have stopped this. If He’s supposed to be all-loving, He could have protected my heart and spared me this pain. But He didn’t. He turned away and chose not to. So how can I trust a God like that—a God who would let something like this happen in my life?
Have you ever said words similar to these—or at least thought them? Have you gotten to the place where being mad at your offender isn’t quite enough for you anymore? In your search for answers and justification, have you turned instead to wag your finger toward the heavens and let God have it for treating you the way He has? Or maybe it’s not so blatant—more like a nebulous, simmering resentment.
Can such feelings and accusations ever be warranted? Does God condone such backtalk from the people He created? Does our relationship with Him include the privilege of being this honest in our expressions?
Do we ever have the right to be angry at God?
Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Lawrence Kimbrough, Choosing Forgiveness: Your Journey to Freedom (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2008).
We have just released a new Bible Study based on Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s book, Choosing Forgiveness.
These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.
Choosing Forgiveness, Lesson #1
What Happens When We Refuse?
Choosing Forgiveness, Lesson #2
The Promise of Forgiveness
Choosing Forgiveness, Lesson #3
The Art of Forgiveness
Choosing Forgiveness, Lesson #4
What True Forgiveness Is — And Isn’t
Choosing Forgiveness, Lesson #5
Returning a Blessing