a Review of “Angry with God” by Brad Hambrick

Is it possible to pack a short book with robust content and yet not overwhelm the reader? Yes. Yes, it is and Brad Hambrick has done just that with his short book Angry with God. This book provides readers with a guided journey through “suffering and betrayal” and back towards a relationship with a loving and compassionate God. The thoroughness, practicality, and accessibility of this book will make it a staple for Biblical counselors everywhere.

At the heart of this book is not simply the topic of anger, nor even anger at God. Brad has provided us with keen insight by targeting specifically “angry grief.” That is, an anger that has resulted from a grieving process, and an anger that we have become stuck in. I don’t know that I have ever read a book that focused on this particular expression of grief or this particular form of anger, and yet I have seen it in counseling quite often. I have even experienced it. Brad is providing a much needed resources which can help fill a hole in our current counseling literature.

Because he is addressing an anger deprived from grief, Brad is also extremely compassionate and gracious in his discussion of the emotional pain people experience. He offers no trite platitudes, simplistic strategies, or spiritualized rebukes. Instead he writes in ways that honor the pain of those to whom he is writing, while also providing steps to process grief and move forward in life.

The books profundity, however, is in the depth and breadth of issues that Brad addresses. He provides readers with tools to express and understand their pain. He walks through discussions of rebuilding trust, turning to the Lord, and discerning our theological beliefs in the midst of suffering. He nuances discussions about expressing hurts versus expressing heresies. He helps readers to engage with friends, navigate stuck emotions, and honestly evaluate our decision-making. This is a book packed with important steps in the healing journey.

The book is broken down into five sections, each representing a phase of the journey. Part one provides foundational informaition which serves to correct many false beliefs we have about angry-grief. Here Brad warns us not to view pain as a riddle and to distinguish between expressing our hurts and stating heresies against God. He also helps readers begin to get some of their painful history out and organized.

Part two turns attention to the expression of pain. Brad masterfully guides readers through articulating what can, at times, feel impossible to express. He walks readers through expressing the initial hurt as well as hurt corresponding to related dynamics (careless words from friends, aftershock, etc.).

Part three focuses on “Alleviating the Affects of Pain.” Here he notes all the ways we are impacted by suffering and betrayal: emotionally, cognitively, relationally, volitionally, and spiritually. A chapter on each type of impact allows him space to unpack the ideas fully and give strategies for responding in healthy ways to each impact.

Part four aims to help readers begin to resolve their grief. Here readers do not simply learn to process grief but to assimilate it into their new lives. Ever-sensitive to the pain of sufferer, Brad’s counsel never minimizes hurt. He does, however, aim to help people get unstuck from their hurt.

Part five, finally, zeroes in on the gospel’s relevance to angry-grief. A skilled pastor and counselor, Brad walks readers through the narrative of redemption showing how the story of creation, fall, redemption, sanctification, and glorification can reframe our suffering narrative.

This is an amazing book. Concise, with short chapters, and yet packed with compassionate care. Counselors will find this a great tool for walking with those who are stuck in the angry-stage of grief. It will serve not only to give practical tools for processing and assimilating grief, but it will help readers reconnect with a compassionate and gracious God who sees them in their sorrow and cares. I highly recommend this work as it is truly unique, deeply needed, and profoundly helpful!

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