Don’t Give Up: Tell God Exactly How You Feel

“I can't be quiet! I am angry and bitter. I have to speak.” (Job 7:11 TEV)

God can handle your emotions — he gave them to you, after all! He can handle your anger, doubt, fear, questions, grief, and even your complaints. Be honest; tell it to God. Get it off your shoulders. Spill your guts! Tell God exactly how you feel: “God, I hurt!” This is exactly what Job did. 

Job was brutally honest with God: “I can't be quiet! I am angry and bitter. I have to speak” (Job 7:11 TEV). He continues to unload in the following verses: “Why do you keep me under guard? Do you think I am a sea monster? I lie down and try to rest; I look for relief from my pain. But you — you terrify me with dreams; you send me visions and nightmares until I would rather be strangled than live in this miserable body. I give up; I am tired of living. Leave me alone. My life makes no sense. Why are people so important to you? Why pay attention to what they do? You inspect them every morning and test them every minute. Won’t you look away long enough for me to swallow my spit? Are you harmed by my sin, you jailer?” (Job 7:12-20)

If you were God, how would you react to that? Zap Job with a thunderbolt? Is that what God did? No!

Do you know why God didn't just zap him? Because God understood Job. God understands you, too, and he understands your hurt. When you say, “God, I don't like this. This stinks. It hurts!” God’s not going to be surprised. Who do you think created those emotions? Who do you think gave you the capacity to get angry and express those feelings? God did. God is not surprised by your emotional state.

God let Job get it off his chest. It was a catharsis, a kind of cleansing so that Job could get clean and be healed.

The right response to unexplained tragedy is not “grin and bear it” or pious platitudes but honestly telling God your struggle with him. Lamentations 2:19 says, “Cry out in the night ... Pour out your heart like water in prayer to the Lord” (NCV).

Job questioned God’s actions, but he never stopped trusting him. Did you know that trusting God with your feelings is an act of worship? “Job stood up, tore his robe in grief, and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground and worshiped” (Job 1:20 GW).

Unload all your feeling. Release your frustrations. God can handle it!

Talk About It

  • How does it feel to unload all your feelings to your best friend?
  • What difference, if any, is there in releasing your frustrations to your best friend and releasing them to God? What is the effect?

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.

This devotional ©2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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