Posted by: minnow | July 14, 2011

Shaking Fists

If you haven’t once shaken your fist at God, I contend you don’t really trust Him.


Well I have not actually studied it out but I honestly suspect not.  My foggy brain seems to remember a few Bible characters shaking their fists and not exactly being blasted for it.  Regardless, I  contend the statement is true.

I realize our standardized image for someone we can trust runs contrary to a shaking fist.  The problem is what we see might just be good acting and a well rehearsed script.  NOT a solid, unshakable, I’m here for you.  What we have been taught to take as evidence of trust worthiness is more likely a white washed image whose outward appearance has more to do with the fear of man than the Fear of the Lord.

After 20 plus years of dancing to the music I have learned something.  When the shit hits the fan, most run for cover.  And frankly, who can blame them.  Building-Based Christianity has taught us how to paint over the crap in our lives with happy faces, how-ya-doing-platitudes, and just-to-prove-I-care-hugs.  But Building-Based Christianity does not have a clue what to do with real life. All we gotta do is trust Jesus!  Right?  Well, we certainly tell ourselves and everyone in the pews that God has it covered.  And, most of us (or at least half of us if you look at the pastor drop out rates and the Christian divorce statistics) muddle through our lives with fair to middling success by putting on the show.  But the fact remains fewer and fewer are buying into the kind of Building-Based Christian Development scheme that looks good on the outside but does not really want to have anything to do with the inside.

Pain, suffering, and brokenness are just as much a part of life as joy, peace, and love.  Discouragement,  confusion, and failure knock on the doors of believers and non-believers alike.  For those who swallowed some version of the happily-ever-after-gospel but end up on the short end of the stick (through total fault or no fault of their own) or the wrong side of an issue (or several issues because of an epiphany) one of two things happens and neither tends to happen in or to a group.  One by one these individuals lose faith or have it out with God.

I cannot tell you what it is like to lose faith.  Although, some on the outside of my life might disagree since I no longer hold to a strict evangelical doctrine nor attend an organized fellowship.  But, from personal experience I can tell you having it out with God is never comfortable, never easy, never fun, but always, always good.

Having it out with God might look like screaming, and yelling, and swearing, and crying.  It might look like shaking fists and stomping feet and giving God the bird.  It might look like one is taking ones life in ones hands.  All of which could feel pretty good if your target is not much bigger than you are.  But, when your target is God how it looks does not begin to express how frightened and alone and desperate one feels in the seconds before one (metaphorically) raises ones fist.  Having it out with God is an all or nothing, end of your rope.  A person only needs to sit through a couple traditional sermons about what God has planned for the unsaved, or what happened to Ananias and Sapphira or Datham and Abiram to be a little nervous about his or her fate should he or she make the same “mistake”.  But having it out with God is not a mistake.

Most relationships end because we choose to reject the other rather than risk rejection by revealing our weakness, our failure, our brokenness.  Having it out with God is an act of faith, a declaration of trust, a full on embrace of the promise that God’s love for us is in fact unconditional.  It cannot be earned and it cannot be unearned.  Having it out with God is our honest declaration of anger, confusion, frustration, self-centered need or desire, and utter helplessness. It is saying to God, I will risk being rejected.  Here is my worst, my ugliest.  Can You still love me?

And God responds with a kiss.  Not a kiss to make it all better like our mommy used to do when we were toddlers and scraped our knee.  But, a kiss of friendship, a kiss of greeting, a kiss that says I am here.  I have always been here.  I will never leave or forsake you.  My love is greater than your anger.  My love is bigger than your questions.  My love is stronger than your pain.  Several years ago a friend of mine told me that when she was a teen and young adult she had tried to commit suicide several times.  When she was recovering from her last attempt she screamed at God–“Why won’t you just let me die so I can be with You?”  As a child she had been repeatedly raped.   As an adult she did not know how to bear the pain alone any longer.  In that moment of fist shaking God gave my friend a picture of herself as a child.  She had just been raped and was lying in His arms.  His kiss in that moment said, “I love you.  You don’t have to die to be with Me.  I. have. always. been. with. you.”

When Jesus died on the cross He risked being forsaken by God.  He even cried out, “Why?” thinking His Father had abandon Him.  In that moment Jesus experienced something He had never experienced before, His Father’s silence.  And, it felt like rejection.  Yet, even with the sins of the world on His shoulders God did not forsake Him. God did not take back His promise.  God’s love rose from the grave our rejection put Him in.  God’s love won.


  1. […] have tried to explain my process of emerging from the cult like Christianity I experienced in other posts so I won’t rehash that now.  (Follow the links if you’re […]

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