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From The Chaplain's Desk
From The Chaplain's Desk: Arguing With God

By Charles Dimmick, CT State Grange Chaplain

  JULY 5, 2016 --

I have heard people say one should not argue with God. I respectfully disagree. Arguing with God has a long and honorable history. Who can forget Abraham arguing with God as to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah? Moses argued with God on several occasions; so did Jeremiah and Job and other Old Testament figures. And approximately a third of the Psalms center on either arguments with God or complaints to God about how he does things (or doesn’t do them).  Take a look at the 44th Psalm, for example:


“Awake, Lord!  Why do you sleep?
    Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever.
 Why do you hide your face
    and forget our misery and oppression?”


And the 142nd Psalm:  “With my voice I cry out to the Lord;

with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord.
I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him.”


      There are lots of other examples; many of them come closer to bitter complaints, rather than real arguing, something for which the Yiddish word “kvetching” probably is appropriate. Arguing with God has a long tradition in Judaism. In fact, the name Israel literally means “wrestling with God”.

      Some will say that arguing with God or complaining to God is necessary to let God know what we really think about things. But I believe God already knows what we think; rather arguing with God is one way to reveal to ourselves what we really think. Sometimes we hide our real feelings not only from others but also from ourselves. Telling God how we feel and then opening ourselves up for His reply is a wonderful opportunity for a two-way communication. God always is more willing to listen to us than we are willing to listen to him; and once we open up to God, even by arguing with him, God has our ear and has a chance of explaining things in ways that perhaps even we ignorant mortals can understand.

            In several places in scripture God invites us to bring our arguments [in the sense of a legal argument] and complaints to him. But God prefers that we present our complaints in a logical fashion, and ask for help and relief, not just grumble. In Isaiah we read “Come let us reason together”. Paul’s letter to the Philippians states: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”   And finally St. Peter says:  “Cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.” So, feel free to argue with God, just do it respectfully, and remember that God has the last word in any argument.


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