Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Spiritual Lottery - Faith and Disappointment

Disappointment is a common emotion. And every Christian I have ever met has been disappointed. I am sure that Jesus was disappointed at times - He did have emotions.

For the record, disappointment is not found in the Bible. There were, however; many disappointing circumstances in the lives of Bible characters. Think: Joseph, Jonah and Peter.

I think that as Christians we see faith as the ability to just know something will happen: place coin in machine, turn key, out comes candy. I suppose sometimes God works like that with us. We have a thought, desire, need, or want, and we ask God for it - like parking spaces or arriving at the scene of an accident. I call these the "Oh my God!" prayers. The process is a bit like a spiritual scratch ticket.

I have found that my faith works like a muscle - a puny one most of the time. Some days I have a walk in the park, and other days it is a marathon for which I often feel unprepared.

When we contrast faith and disappointment, there are some subtopics such as doubt, anger, God's will and expectations that come to mind. Expectations are an essential part of disappointment and faith. I have written about the other three topics previously which seem to be ready comrades of both met, and unmet expectations.

Expectations come in a variety of flavors: Realistic, Unrealistic, met, unmet, perceived, entitlement and delusional.

I often find that relationships get a little off kilter based on expectations. For instance, when couples first get married, I find that most often haven't talked much about where to go on the holidays, when to have kids (or not), and what type of vacations to take. More than a few arguments ensued because each partner had a different expectation. One wanted a relaxing vacation, the other wanted a tour with a daily itinerary, one wanted to go to his mother's for Thanksgiving and the other to hers. And even more difficult to negotiate, one partner wanting children while the spouse does not.

Christians all have expectations of God. Some may only expect Him to take them to Heaven on the last day, others may expect Him to provide a various array of promises and heirlooms based on our Scriptural inheritance. Some of you may feel that God has personally promised you something - a spouse, a business or some other earthly desire and it has not yet come through.

We all need to ask ourselves if we have faith like a roulette wheel, or a deep abiding faith built on trusting God with everything: relationships, work, school, play, finances, church, and most importantly, our desires.

Faith of course is believing God for that which is unseen until it becomes a reality. Lots has been written on waiting on the Lord - an active posture - doing all that we can, while allowing God to do His part.

Dealing with disappointment can be hard. Most humans just want an easy life. The Bible however only says that the yoke of Jesus is easy. The rest is hard work some times. Remember, you are in an army. You have been given weapons, and yes, you are expected to use them!

Having realistic expectations of God is not an easy thing to do. On one hand, it is hard to always know what He is up to. On the other, many of us have seen Him do the unexpected. There in lies the key, do we have a deep enough relationship with Jesus to know what His desires are for us, and to apprehend that which He has destined us for? Our Father desires to speak to us, to love us, to communicate with us. Like any good relationship, good communication leads to realistic expectations.

Here's a nice list of verses for a little devotional when you have some time.

The question today is this: Is your faith adequate to overcome your disappointments?
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Tracy said...

Is your faith adequate to overcome your disappointments?

God is more than enough to
overcome my disappointments.

He gave me the faith to trust in Him (Eph. 2:8) initially. When I struggle with faith, I cry out to Him just like the father we see in Matthew 9:23-25. He continually meets me more than half way.

I get discouraged (right now I'm really struggling with some frustrating, scary situations) but I still turn to Him. Like Peter, I know there's no where else I have to go (John 6:66-69); He alone is God.

TeVeT said...

Good read that I will pass along for sure. In fact one specific individual comes to mind. Thanks for posting, David.

Some people are given a promise from God and pursue the promise without pursuing Him.

I think this is because of the misconception people have of Abraham. God didn't just drop in his life with a promise and staid outta sight and earshot for decades, He walked and talked with Abraham and Sarah, even after they both messed up and tried to make the promise happen on their own terms.

photogr said...

"Is your faith adequate to overcome your disappointments?"


I have had it both ways with and with out faith. With out faith, they were disasters. With faith, I was able to overcome the disasters and put my trust in God's grace.

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