God’s not mad at you, even if you are mad at God.

“I do not understand.” That’s what I said to God before the graveside service for our five-week old daughter in 1989.

I wasn’t mad, exactly, but I did not understand, and I wanted to be honest with God about it.

I have talked to people who are angry. Sometimes they express that anger toward people. “If only they would have listened to me when I told them to get to the doctor,” they say.  Some of those people are a little afraid to be angry at God, so they blame others.

But here’s my picture for them.

Imagine standing with someone who had the power to save the one you loved. You start yelling at them. “If you would have been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.” You start pounding on their chest with your fists. And as you do, you start to weep. And they wrap their arms around you and begin to weep, too.

That is what Martha said to Jesus. And Mary, too. Mary fell at Jesus’s feet. And Jesus wept with her.

That’s why I’m pretty sure that God’s not mad at you in these moments of grief, even if you are mad at God.

We are talking to someone who understands how hard being human is.


People who are grieving hear all kinds of annoying things from friends. This is a chapter from This Is Hard: What I Say When Loved Ones Die, which offers you 15 short sentences that will help you, not preach at you, and a journal to help you remember what matters.