Hope In The Mourning Reading Plan

Day 4 of 7 • This day’s reading

Anger in Grieving

People grieve differently, but we all share a common thread in grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance … or not. Once shock and disbelief subside, the next stage of the grieving process emerges—anger:

anger toward the one who died,
anger toward yourself for not being able to prevent the loss, and
anger toward God for allowing it.

Grieving is a God-given process that helps us transition from the loss of our old reality to the discovery of a new reality. The anger stage can be messy and frightening to watch or to express. But anger is an important, normal, healthy response to a significant loss. Like most emotions, anger can be either a positive or a negative force. Anger can be good when it motivates positive changes or corrects wrongs. Productive anger provides a passage to get through a loss. Toxic anger, however, clings, festers and taints. Turned inward, toxic anger turns into depression.

Job was tempted and tested by Satan. He showed trust in his God and patience with his circumstances when he lost his wealth and lifestyle. Then Job and his wife lost all ten of their children. They must have been overwhelmed by emotion. Unfortunately, the misfortunes didn’t end there: Job was struck with painful sores on his entire body.

Job’s wife, whether out of hatred of God for what he had done to Job or out of a desire that her husband’s misery should soon be ended, urged him to provoke God to administer the final stroke due to all who curse him. In her anger, she shouted at Job, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9). Satan was using Job’s wife to tempt Job as he used Eve to tempt Adam. And the anger expressed, in this instance, certainly wasn’t healthy.

It may be hard for you to see anger as simply a part of the grieving process. This stage may be the most difficult for you to move beyond. Grieving is necessary, but it’s meant to end. Good and sad memories will remain, but you will go on.

God promises to be our strength and to bring something good from loss—if we allow him to. So express your healthy anger—even toward God. He can take it. Let him bring you to the end of your grieving and to his promised peace.