Blog #40- Feeling Disappointed by God
Recently, my older son got scammed online. A $500 purchase was “on sale” for $80. He jumped at the savings and made the purchase. Immediately afterwards, I told him I had a sinking feeling it was too good to be true.
In our family prayer time that night, he surprised us by praying specifically for this package to arrive and NOT be a scam. I was touched by his prayer, but doubtful it would make a difference. But then he prayed for it the next night. And the next night. And every night for the next month. I honestly can’t think of anything he has prayed for that consistently… ever!
Finally, a package arrived. Reminiscent of the “lamp” in The Christmas Story movie, we gathered in anticipation only to unwrap a pair of cheap, old sunglasses. Not worth $80, much less $500. And not even what he ordered! His heart sunk. My heart sunk.
Though unspoken, we were all thinking the same thing:
But, God! He prayed! With such faith and determination! Why didn’t You answer that?!
It is one thing to be disappointed, but another to be disappointed by God. We don’t like it. It makes us uncomfortable. What do we do with our faith when such blatant letdowns occur?
My son shrugged and went on with life, but I have been stuck. I want nothing more than for my kids to have a vibrant, unwavering faith. In my humble opinion, this would have been a homerun.
The odds were stacked against him, yet God came through in the end! Woo-hoo! Can’t you hear the crowd cheering?!
It seemed like a no-brainer to me. But it wasn’t.
Disappointment causes us to wrestle. It shakes our faith. It leaves us wondering things we would never say out loud in church. Like…
God, how could You let that happen?
Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for why He allows certain things. But I do have a specific action we can take in the face of them.
We can pour out our hearts to God.
In 1 Samuel 1, we read about Hannah who desperately wanted children and was continually taunted by her rival, Peninnah, who bore sons and daughters without effort. Peninnah would flaunt her children and poke fun at Hannah’s barren womb, leaving Hannah in tears and unable to eat.
The Scriptures tell us “this [torment] went on year after year” (v.7).
Then, Hannah prayed. With deep anguish, she begged God for a child and to relieve her of this relentless despair. Eli, the priest, watched her weep and pray, accusing her of being drunk. She responded, “I am a woman who is deeply troubled… I was pouring out my heart to the Lord” (v. 15).
Notice what happened after she poured out her heart.
“She went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast” (v. 18)
In the beginning of the story she was distraught and unable to eat. Now, after pouring out her heart she was able to eat, and her appearance had changed.
So, what happened?! Did she suddenly have a child in her arms?
Was she miraculously pregnant?
Rather, her disappointment led to a decision. She chose to trust Him with her pain and her desires. And it led to peace.
There are no guarantees your disappointment will be met with delight. But as you approach Him with raw honesty and unashamed pleas, you will find yourself at a point of decision. If you choose to trust Him, there is a guarantee of peace. A peace that passes all understanding.
A peace that is not dependent on your disappointment finding fulfillment.
Disappointment is real. Pouring out your heart to Him is not a shiny cliché. And it’s not a quick fix. It may be a repeated affair as layers of pain peel off like an onion. But stick with it.
Too often we write God off without ever giving Him a chance to walk us through our disappointment. We assume if He allowed the pain, He is not worth following. But don’t jump to that conclusion. It may be hard, messy and acutely painful, but He can give you peace in the midst of your grief. So, don’t fear expressing yourself to Him. There is no temper tantrum He cannot handle.
The peace Hannah had that day is available to you, but it only comes through an honest interaction with God. No one can do it for you. So, take the time. Make the effort.
Pour out your heart.
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