We’ve all been disappointed. And the source of that disappointment is often a person we trust and care for. Someone we expected would say yes said no. When we waited for a text or phone call it never came. When we offered a tender gift it didn’t draw a “thank you” or even a smile. Just a quick, “Oh, that’s nice—why don’t you put it over there.”
It hurts, doesn’t it?
So here’s one of two questions for the day. Is God one of your disappointments? Has he ever ignored your pleas for help? Has he allowed someone to die even after you prayed for healing? Have you watched in grief as your parents’ marriage, or your own marriage, dissolved? Or was he utterly distant when you looked for his shelter or care as someone preyed on you? Has his absence and silence finally forced you to give up on him?
Here’s a secret. Almost everyone is with you. God has disappointed the entire world. At one time or another most people have called out to their version of God—whatever their culture might offer—yet without any response beyond the demands by his priests for more obedience, compliance, and money. And it hurts.
Many have finally moved on, turning to look for faces, places, and things that satisfy. But mostly it’s a search for nonmedical medications that help diminish the pain. We find socially acceptable or unacceptable addictions: wealth, power, wisdom, drugs, sex, or empty entertainments.
Here’s the second question. Have you ever disappointed God? The God who “knitted me together in my mother’s womb” (from Ps. 139) and knows “every one of them, the days that were formed” for you? Who sees you “as his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10)? Have you ignored his invitation to come to the Son’s wedding supper, an event meant for you and us?
Here’s the reason for asking both questions at once. When we put our disappointments in God ahead of God’s disappointment in us we will never trust him. And he, as God—the God who knows the beginning from the end and who loves us all because he made us for himself—is left with an impasse we’ve created. We’re insisting that he serve us. That he must allow us to define his universe on our own terms … with our ambitions coming first. And he knows better than to allow that arrangement to work. For our sake and not just for his. We aren’t big enough or wise enough to tell God how to behave.
So when Jesus came to earth to show us what God walking on two legs is like, the first thing he said was “Repent!” (in Mark 1:15). Which is another way of saying, trust me more than you trust yourself. And be assured that once we repent our spiritual eyes and ears will finally start to see and hear from God … speaking on his terms, not ours.
And what will come from repentance? Here’s what Paul tells us, by the Spirit’s nudging, in Romans 8:38-39: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Try it. All of us who have already repented can testify that you’ll love it! And all our nagging disappointments can finally be discarded forever!