Maggie Low’s new book God, I’m Angry! delves into the psalms of vengeance and lays the groundwork for a biblical understanding of righteous anger, conditional forgiveness, and unconditional love. Here she shares with us the powerful testimony of an abused victim she has been counselling over the past year using the imprecatory psalms.
"God,…help…me," she forced out in a whisper, after interminable minutes of silence.
I had already submitted my manuscript for God, I’m Angry!, when this young woman came to see me. Her friend brought her, telling me that she couldn’t sleep and was always falling sick. The reason for her insomnia, it turned out, was that she was caught in a nightmarish loop every night, reliving her childhood horrors – being raped, beaten, tortured by those who were supposed to protect her. It was the most horrendous account of child abuse that I had ever counselled.
At the end of the session, I offered to guide her in prayer. She agreed. But when I prompted her to ask God for help, she froze and could not utter a word. I asked her to repeat those three simple words after me, "God, help me." In the faintest murmur, she finally did.
She was too traumatized to talk about her painful past, but having attended my session on the lament psalms, I asked her whether she could write about the memories that haunt her. With a look of relief, she agreed to do so. Week after week, she wrote one lament psalm after another. In our time together, she would hesitantly read out one short lament, and then we would talk about her fears and her false sense of guilt and self-blame. Then together, we read out her lament psalm as an act of corporate prayer. My heart hurt to read some lines. It was beyond belief. I was at a loss, but the Spirit was ministering to her through the writing.
Together, we read out her lament psalm as an act of corporate prayer. My heart hurt to read some lines. It was beyond belief. I was at a loss, but the Spirit was ministering to her through the writing.
After almost a year, she wrote the one below that went back to the start of her anguish, and she was finally able to pen a clearer imprecatory petition, asking God for justice against the violator.
He entered the bathroom
and then locked the door.
He approached me slowly like a beast approaching his prey.
If there is a place that God is absent, I think there it is.
He said we were just playing, but I didn’t feel so.
My mom didn’t believe it, but it did happen.
Lord, you know he did it,
He did it to a child who naively left the door unlocked.
God, you have revealed yourself as my Lord since I was young.
I put faith in your mercy and justice.
Chase him away, Lord,
So that he can make no more hurt.
May you pour your wrath out on him.
Let him face what he deserves.
I will rejoice under your wings,
For you cover and heal my heart.
Peace be with me,
Praise be to you.
Today, she sleeps more soundly in God’s security, but there are occasional twinges of fear when she faces a similar story. When a perpetrator is not brought to justice, there is the apprehension that the threat may return. This is why we need to pray and do justice.
And when justice is not humanly possible, then our hope is in the inescapable vengeance of God.
God, I'm Angry! provides a step-by-step guide for application in pastoral counselling contexts and includes real-life examples from Maggie Low’s extensive ministry experience. It is a source of practical wisdom for spiritual and emotional growth towards freedom, wholeness, and fullness of life.