God has disappointed me a few big times in my life.
That feels like something I’m not allowed to say…or even feel.
Maybe you can relate? Perhaps you didn’t get the job you thought he’d give you. Perhaps you waited for a big problem to be solved, but the solution never came. Maybe he hasn’t healed you like you thought he would or he didn’t heal someone you loved.
Still, God is good.
Psalm 119:68 says to God, You are good and do good.
Jonah was disappointed by God
Disappointment in God is not new to our generation. Remember how Jonah pouted up on the hill because God didn’t destroy Ninevah like he expected?Have you ever been disappointed by God? You're not alone. Find encouragement here: Click To Tweet
Jonah went out of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city. -Jonah 4:5
Do you remember what God did as Jonah sulked?
God didn’t take Jonah’s life, even though Jonah wanted to die. Instead, God tenderly cared for His disappointed child. God grew a plant to give Jonah shade and to save him from his discomfort (Jonah 4:6). Then God used the same plant to teach Jonah about His character.
Why do we get disappointed by God?
Our understanding is finite, while God’s is infinite. Our faith is limited, even though his goodness is limitless. In short, God disappoints us because we are human and He isn’t. He doesn’t think or act like we do and that can lead to disappointment.
These are a few more specific reasons we may feel disappointed by God:
We misunderstood him
This has been the case for me several times. He told me part of the plan and I assumed the rest. When “the rest” didn’t happen, I felt like God let me down. But really, my perception was off from the beginning.
We just can’t understand
Sometimes we’re disappointed because we can’t understand His ways. We just can’t. His ways are higher than ours and He’s always working for good. It doesn’t always look like that to us, because it hurts along the way.
We don’t trust Him
We can get disappointed because one solution falls through and we don’t trust God to solve the problem another way. We also become disappointed when God doesn’t work on our timeline, instead of trusting that he knows best.
We are selfish
Without the ongoing sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, we are selfish to the core. We want dumb things. We want things to happen our way in our timing, and we want the credit for it. We can become disheartened, because that’s not how God works. He ultimately works for our good and His glory.
We live in a broken world
Terrible things happen to wonderful people in this world, because it is broken. Good always wins in the end, but it’s not the end right now. He gave people the freedom of choice. Because of that, people are free to make bad choices that hurt others. Sometimes God prevents evil from touching us, and sometimes he doesn’t. I admit, I still struggle with this, but I choose to believe the Bible. God is good and he does good.
Closure is not guaranteed
Several years ago, a friend of ours died of cancer and left two beautiful boys without their dad. More recently, a Christian blogger died in a house fire along with her husband and adopted baby. I will probably never understand the good that came out of those events.
My vision is limited, though. God’s is not. He sees all the work He did in people’s hearts because of these tragedies. He sees the souls that turned to him in their pain.
Sometimes, God gives us the gift of understanding why. Sometimes He doesn’t. When we join him in Heaven, wrapped in his perfect love, I doubt that it will be of any importance to us. Because there all of our doubts are silenced, all of our hurts are healed, and all of our broken places are mended. We will be with him and the goodness of his character will be on display all around us.
Until we get to Heaven, let’s cling to God’s word and trust in his character. In Lamentations 3, the author describes the terrible situation he’s in. He says that God has broken his bones, besieged him with tribulation, and torn him to pieces. Yet, immediately following this description, he writes:
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.”
Oh, friends, let’s be among the ones who seek him. May our utmost desire be to stay faithful to the God who redeemed us, even if we don’t always understand what he is doing or why he’s doing it. When we are disappointed, we can call his goodness to mind, remember that his steadfast love never ceases, and continue to hope in him. Because, after all, He is good.
Have you ever felt disappointed in God? Which one of the reasons above fit your situation?