What am I unlearning?
I am unlearning a toothless God and discovering a God of wrath. Many of the preachers I listen to have at one time or another mentioned that God does not currently deal in judgment with the world. God's wrath has been completely poured out on Christ and there will be a day of judgment; now is a time of Grace.
Yet, this is poor logical reasoning. It ignores the stories in the New Testament regarding God's present day judgment: Paul speaking judgment over the magician and he went blind, people eating the Lord's supper incorrectly and getting sick or dying as a result, and Ananias and Saphira. I agree we should be wary of calling natural disasters God's judgment on a region, yet neither can we be sure it is not. It is better if we counsel people to evaluate their hearts and motives rather than placate them by saying everything is going to be okay.
As I begin to see God's anger as a present reality (since Christ was crucified before the foundation of the world), I realize how much I appreciate it--how necessary it is to God's redemptive work. If God didn’t get angry over how we hurt each other and use each other for selfish gain how could he love us? I expect a God of love to be at war with everything which corrupts his original intention for our lives. Granted, God does not sin in his anger; He does not fly off the handle. There will be a day of judgment when all people will give an account for their lives. But we also live with God's judgment all around us. The cross was God's judgment against sin. Healing is God's judgment against sickness. Judgment is about setting things right not punishing. God's anger is redemptive--it's what he's like.