2 December 2023

‘I’m no longer angry at God’

Reuben Bond

A photo of Reuben Bond

Reuben Bond (Blackpool Citadel) shares how his faith has been strengthened.

I grew up outside The Salvation Army as my dad was a Baptist minister. When I was younger, I never had any doubts because I had my own walking, talking Bible: my dad! I would ask him 20 billion questions about anything I could think of. Looking back, I realise how irritating I must have been, but he had what seemed like boundless patience. However, my world turned upside down when my dad was diagnosed with cancer. This was something he battled for three years, which he tried to do with a smile on his face. He died shortly after my 13th birthday, and that was my world gone.

I was angry at the world. I thought the world owed me something, that it owed my dad something. I was angry at God for taking him away from me before he got to see me grow from a boy into a man. I felt so alone too, because now it was just me and my mum. I had promised my dad I would look after her.

It was probably at my first summer school that I fell back in love with God. I saw his people there, people who cared and loved God, who lived out that love to me. A Bible verse was shared from Job 38:4: ‘Where were you when I made the Earth?’ (Easy-to-Read Version). I realised that I know nothing and cannot guess God’s plans. While my life would be very different if my dad hadn’t died, I wouldn’t have been sat there or known these people and I wouldn’t have found my calling. I am the man I am today because of my dad and what happened. That’s not to mean I’ve let my loss define me, but rather God has used this experience to mould me.

I realised I should be thankful: I got to spend 13 years with a wonderful man. I was blessed that I got that long. I know lots of people whose fathers are still alive but they have difficult relationships with them.

I’m no longer angry at God, because I’ve accepted that he knows best. That doesn’t mean my pain is gone, but I’ve learnt to live with it and channel it into being more like God wants me to be. Grief is like an elastic band. It’s always with you; sometimes it’s extended far away and then other days it snaps back and stings you. It’s OK to feel both. It’s OK to question God, because even Jesus did. It’s OK to mourn who or what you’ve lost. This doesn’t just apply to bereavement; lots of things in our lives can die or change.

So, I would say to anyone in pain that God knows what you’re going through because he went through it too. He loves you unconditionally. When you trust that he knows best and wants the best for you, the world is suddenly not such a scary place.

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Reuben Bond

Blackpool Citadel

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