How to get beyond our disappointment in God

bunkhouse (1)Right now I’m sitting on the porch of “La Cabinette”.

It’s’ very quiet here, except on the weekends when kayakers transport their kayaks to the river a mile down the road. This is my place of refuge and solace. It’s where I often hear God “speak”.

No, I’m not a fanatic. I don’t hear an audible voice. 

No, I don’t see visions.

It’s more a case of everything kind of coming together through varied sources. How do I know they are not my own thoughts? I won’t try to explain it except to say that the Scriptures support that God does “speak” to us.

Besides, I’ve been a Christian all my life. I’ve studied God’s word, I’ve studied other great literature, I’ve asked for wisdom, so why wouldn’t I believe God can “speak” to me?

God speaking

God “speaks” through many sources.

Because of some books I brought with me to read, some old magazine articles I had at the cabin, and because I’ve had some lengthy time to think, I began to “hear” what I think might be something we all need to hear now and then. It isn’t the least bit profound.

It’s been said often and in countless ways. You’ve probably said something like it yourself. Here’s my version:

If you can’t control it, why are you worrying about it?

Nothing you haven’t heard before. Right?

Nothing I haven’t heard before either. I’ve always known this, intellectually.

The Bible is full of instruction to us about NOT worrying. But I’ve rarely run into a situation where I didn’t feel I had at least some control.

Sometimes after I’ve done my very best and prayed my very best, I can get thoroughly disillusioned when my prayers aren’t answered the way I want. I’ve reached the point where I’ve simply had to stop trying and even praying so intensely because:

God is the only one who knows what’s going on and He is the only one that can do anything about it.  

But God never intends for us to get to that point of disillusionment before we give our concerns over to him. He never intends for us to feel that extreme disappointment.

We bring that one on all by ourselves.

There have been times in my life I’ve really thought if I only prayed harder and longer, if I’d only prayed “smarter”, I really could change things. But I’ve learned we need to work with God.

God speaking

God is working in everything we pray about. We might find the situation or person changed, or we might not. God doesn’t twist anyone’s arms. People have a mind of their own. God knows this, of course, because he is the creator of our free will..

Our ability to choose began in the Garden of Eden.

So what do we do when we’re so disappointed in God? Yes, I said disappointed in God. Because if we’re really honest with ourselves, God is the one we really hold responsible when things don’t go the way we want.

But why?

God’s love for us goes way beyond the circumstances that surround us. God is interested in us and our relationship to him. Everything that happens to us he can use to strengthen that relationship with him.

Trust me, I’m no better at accepting disappointment than you are. It takes God some time to bring me around to his line of thinking. And, honestly, there have been times I never have.

Let’s just admit there are some situations that will always leave us perplexed. There are people we’ve prayed for long and hard and they don’t change. We just want to throw up our hands and say, “God, I’m done.”

I can’t tell you how a person moves spiritually from “point A” to “point B” because I’m not God. But this is where the rubber meets the road.

Do we give up because we don’t see results? Do we give up when our prayers are not answered the way we want? No, we don’t. This is where trusting God comes in.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t trust your own thinking. Bring God into everything you do and he will direct your paths. Proverbs 3: 5 & 6

While it is always God’s plan for people to turn to him, they may not. While it is always God’s plan for people to live decent, loving, God-honoring lives, they may not.

This is life. We may well leave this earth having not seen our prayers answered. So did the great Patriarchs whose stories are highlighted in Hebrews, chapter eleven.

I have quiet time every day at home but it’s here at my tiny red cabin where God reveals himself the most. Or maybe I should say it’s here I get quiet enough to hear him.

We think we’re so big and powerful at times. We think God expects us to be strong and there are times he does expect just that.

But don’t confuse strength with submission. It’s when we give our worries over to God, we are at our strongest.

Years ago I wrote this little song (based on II Corinthians 12:10) for a children’s group but its message is true for us grown-up children as well.

“When I am weak, YOU are strong,

When I am strong, you make me weak,

What a wonder, what a mystery, what a joy.

So when I am weak, I won’t despair,

My God is strong, He’ll meet me there,

What a wonder, what a mystery, oh, what a joy.”

I’m a peacekeeper by nature and I want everyone to get along. One of my greatest struggles has been learning I can’t. And to tell you the truth,  I don’t want to anymore.

But remember, letting go must never mean giving up.

God is concerned about everything that concerns us. So when you’re disappointed in life, God knows that, too, God is bigger than our disappointment, even when our disappointment is directed at him.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.