We looked at disappointment with God previously, and found that it is really down to our own choices.
But what happens when the theory doesn’t work, and God cannot seem to touch us, when we still have our disappointment.
1. Who are we really disappointed in?
Maybe this is the first thing to recognise, God is a big target, and so is easy to hit with our blame, but is it really him we are disappointed with. There are other options;
a. Ourselves – it is very easy to become disappointed with what we have been able to achieve. We are inclined to expect a lot from ourselves, and are often unforgiving when we don’t hit the mark. We also tend to easily forget that there is an accuser whose job it is to make us feel as bad as we can about ourselves. When this happens we focus on us and our problems, not God and His answers.
b. Others – because even Christians are imperfect, we let each other down. Although we tend to keep the most impossible expectations for ourselves, we can be pretty tough on each other as well. It is just plain sensible to acknowledge that we will let each other down, but if we temper this with the desire to believe the best about each other, it helps to put our expectations into a correct perspective. In the end though, we all have our own stuff, and unfortunately we exercise our ‘right’ to air it from time to time.
From this we can see that disappointment is unfulfilled expectation. Maybe part of the way to dealing with it is to recognise which expectations are fulfillable, and which are not. How do we do that?
2. Recognising expectations
If we are fortunate, we may be able to recognise immediately that we have expected too much. For instance;
- Would the fulfilment of expectation require mind-reading or really specific prophet knowledge on behalf of someone.
- Would it require God to act outside of the generally accepted understanding of His character.
- Have we applied the Bible in a way that is not sustainable from the surrounding scripture.
- Have we placed our hope in an event we have no legitimate expectation of happening.
NB. When we are faced with circumstances we cannot see a way through, we can grasp at anything we perceive to be an alternative. So if we have no money, God will give us the lottery numbers. He may, but we cannot live our life as if it is only a matter of time until He does. The risk is that in our own minds it absolves us of the responsibility to do what we need to ourselves.
© Paul Wood