In some of the stuff that my family has been dealing with in this transition from Georgia to North Carolina, one church to another, and many other issues, my prayer life has been more like a complaint department. This article by R.C. Sproul has got me thinking and has me repenting of my rebellious attitude.
What justification do we have for lashing out at God? Is He not working out every situation for our good?(Romans 8:28-30) Has He brought me here to leave me? It is time to believe the truth in which I preach. Lord I do believe , help me with my unbelief! (Mark 9:23-24)
Here is the article by R.C.:
Some of the people in the biblical narratives seem to bargain with God. For instance, Hezekiah reminds God of what a good king he has been. Is it proper to pray in this fashion?
Scripture is brutally honest with us, revealing the faults and vices of the saints, as well as their virtues. We see inappropriate conduct even from great men such as Abraham, Moses, and David. Thus, the fact that the Bible tells us that various men tried to bargain or negotiate with God should not communicate to us that this is the appropriate way to deal with Him. Scripture is simply revealing this common human tendency, not sanctioning it. The fact is, people do this all the time. I’ve found myself trying to make deals with God, saying, “God, if you’ll just give me one more chance, I’ll do this, this, this, and this.” God doesn’t listen to that kind of prayer, for we are in no position to bargain with Him. To attempt to do so is to insult His character.
Scripture also contains examples of people almost lashing out at God in prayer. Is it ever legitimate to complain to God or to express anger to God?
We have manifold references in Scripture to believers bitterly complaining and almost accusing God of unfairness or harshness. We sometimes look at these instances and think, “Well, if Moses can do it, if Job can do it, then it must be my prerogative as a Christian to voice my bitterness and complaints.”
But we need to notice not just the complaints the biblical saints sometimes make, but the responses God gives. Let’s take Job’s complaint as an example. As Job struggled with his afflic- tions, he found it impossible not to grumble that God would let one as righteous as he was suffer so greatly. Eventually, however, God answered Job’s complaints with stern words: “Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me” (Job 38:2–3). What did Job say? Did he continue to complain? No. Instead, he declared: “I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know… . Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (42:3b, 6). He was severely rebuked for the attitude that he expressed to God. Likewise, Habakkuk the prophet complained bitterly that God was not being just by allowing wickedness to go unchecked. He demanded an answer from God, and when God gave it, Habakkuk said, “My body trembled; my lips quivered at the voice; rottenness entered my bones; and I trembled in myself” (Hab. 3:16a).
It’s vital that we understand prayer in terms of the qualifications that are found throughout the Bible. By considering the scope of the Bible’s teaching on this subject, we may conclude that it is acceptable to bring all our cares to God, including matters that may move us to frustration or anger. However, we must not come to God in a spirit of complaint or anger against Him, for it is never proper to accuse God of wrongdoing.