Prior to my sophomore year in high school, I did not know what it meant to wrestle with God. I had never experienced a dramatic life change and never fully understood how someone could have conflicting feelings about God. I fully believed what the Bible said about God being good and His ways being good, but what happens when you encounter a situation where things aren’t “good” and disbelief sinks in?
I experienced this questioning when I was 15 and went from being a healthy and active travel AAU basketball player to a girl who was so sick that she struggled some days to walk up the stairs. To this day, we still do not know exactly what virus or illness attacked my body suddenly causing me to become severely ill, but it kickstarted a long journey that I never expected for my life. Over the span of seven years, I was diagnosed with and walked through a wide range of chronic illnesses and conditions. I was in and out of the hospital and doctors’ offices, and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota started to feel like my second home. I missed out on everything, and every sense of normalcy that I knew went out the window. I lost friends, basketball, proms, homecomings, church trips, hangouts, birthday parties, and more. I was on Hospital Homebound for two years during high school and missed the good part of three years of college from continued health problems.
These seven years held some of the darkest days of my life. I felt like everything I had known had been stripped from me and that I would never be healed. What do you do when God radically changes your life in a way you do not want and did not expect? I know what I did. I became angry at God for this change in my life because I did not understand how any of this was good, nor how God could possibly bring about anything good from my situation. I did not understand why God chose this path for my life, and I was angry that the trajectory of my life seemed to bring nothing but sorrow and pain. I knew that God’s ways are good, but how was I supposed to believe this when my life had radically changed?
I wrestled with the Lord for many years as I did not understand why I was going through what I was. I quickly became distrustful of God and kept Him at arm’s length, hoping that I could keep Him from knowing the reality of my thinking. I did not want God to know that I was mad at Him. As you may imagine, I realized that the God of the Universe, the Creator of all things, of course already knew that I was mad at Him since He knows my every thought anyhow! At first, I was ashamed that I had these thoughts because if God is good and perfect, and loves me enough to send His Son to the cross to die for me, how was it even possible that I could be mad at Him? I decided to take a leap of faith and just talk to Him about it. I told God my honest thoughts— because what was the point of keeping my true feelings hidden when He already knew what was going through my head? It was uncomfortable, but my honesty with God is where I found freedom.
God began softening my heart and giving me peace throughout my wrestling with Him. By coming to God with my honest emotions and anger, I invited Him into my journey and began to slowly rebuild my relationship with Him. He helped me learn that my circumstances may not always be my definition of “good,” but that He is the definition of good. By fully surrendering to Him and trusting that He was holding me through anything that I was going through, I discovered a peace and joy that can only come from Him. It was a peace and joy that came regardless of my circumstances. I found that my faith was strengthened so much more than I could have imagined during this period of wrestling. I began having a new perspective of my situation. My situation did not change, but my heart did. In coming to God honestly, I learned to trust in His plan and began to understand that I will never fully understand all the details. I will never fully understand why I went through what I did, but I know that God knows. I have learned to be okay with that. It is not an easy surrender, but it is a necessary one because I know the anguish that is possible when I try to wrestle with God and my situation alone.
If your story is a similar one of being angry with God because of an unwanted circumstance or one out of your control, I encourage you to tell God your honest thoughts. Tell Him that you are mad and do not understand and ask Him to help you in your distrust. He is a big God, and He can handle it! It takes courage, but God wants to be a part of every aspect of your life and is not turned away by your honesty. I walked through years of my life having conflicting feelings about God and having no idea how my struggles could be used to glorify Him, but by asking Him to join me in my wrestling, I found freedom, and I pray that for you as well.
Meet Brittany: I am 23 years old and am a full-time employee of Lighthouse. I felt called to serve on Lighthouse’s Summer Staff last year after experiencing years of isolation and missing out on life due to chronic illnesses I faced throughout high school and college. I will complete my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega in December of 2022, and I have a passion to serve and walk through life with those who are facing difficult circumstances. In my free time, I enjoy exercising, hanging out with friends and family, and going to the beach!