Have you ever been betrayed? When I was in college, I broke up with my girlfriend of two years because it became clear she didn’t want the same committed walk with God that I did. I was heartbroken about it but it felt like my only option. Then a few months later I discovered she had started dating a teammate of mine who loved to trash God and mock me in the locker room for my faith. I felt betrayed.
Man! How could God do this to me? I gave up a smart and beautiful woman for Him! I was so livid I felt ready to quit the whole Christian life! Which would have been really, really, stupid.
When we feel wronged or betrayed, it’s typical to get angry. When it’s God doing the “wronging” – even if it’s something like my college experience, which seems a bit trivial now – well, that just magnifies the emotional response, doesn’t it?
Maybe you’ve been betrayed at work or by a family member. Maybe you’ve been defrauded of something you deserve or accused of doing something you didn’t do. Maybe your raw deal goes even deeper. If it’s making you angry at God, how are you handling it?
That night when I spotted my ex-girlfriend, I ended up reading Psalm 73 when I got home. Go open your Bible to this psalm right now and let me share four steps it taught me as a way to find God in the midst of fury.
Step no. 1: Tell God how you feel.
Psalm 73 was written by Asaph. We don’t know much about him other than he had the title of choir leader. That means he was a respected man of faith, someone looked up to. Yet, something had happened and he was furious with God about it.
In verses 2-14 he jumps right in and spills his spiritual turmoil.
“As for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness….” (vs. 2-3)
Pour out your heart. Face the emotion. Don’t stuff it down. Get it on the table. Most importantly, be honest with God about it.
Step no. 2: Think carefully about your responses.
Yes, we are to acknowledge how we feel and let God know. But there’s no benefit to broadcasting it to the entire world. Asaph recognizes what would have happened if he’d complained to every neighbor he ran into. “If I would have spoken thus I would have betrayed your children” (verse 15).
Our choices affect others. That night I ran into my ex-girlfriend with my knucklehead teammate, I was supposed to have a Bible study with six guys, four or five of whom I had the privilege of leading to Christ. After reading Psalm 73 I realized that if I quit the Christian faith because of my painful experience, how could it not affect them negatively?
Step no. 3: Get the big picture.
Asaph went to “the sanctuary of the Lord” (verse 17). There, surrounded by God’s people and His Word, Asaph worshipped and had his eternal perspective (verses 18-22) restored. He could see the “final destiny” of those who had wronged him and spurned God. And he realized he hadn’t been thinking clearly.
When Asaph looks back from the new perspective, he realizes
“You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (verses 23-26).
Step no. 4: Affirm your relationship with God.
Like Asaph, you have a choice. You can stuff your emotions and respond negatively to the betrayal you feel and close your eyes to God’s perspective.
Or you can choose to recognize your dependency on God, who holds your hand and guides you and is your strength forever.
“But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds” (verse 28).
Which will you choose today?
Feeling betrayed? At the end of your rope? It can be hard to find God in the midst of those emotions. In his book, Finding God When You Need Him Most, Chip Ingram reveals how you can meet God in the midst of your most difficult moments.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip