Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Faith vs 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, the word 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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Charlie Chang said...

I have faith like a mustard seed. Sometimes I have it in my hand but can't see it or I drop it and have it find it.

photogr said...


As far as my disappointments, I don't think faith has any thing to do with it in that respect. What diappoints me more than any thing is others that fail me or backstabs me in the business realm.

I am not disappointed in any thing God has done for me. I trust in Him to the point I let Him lead me where He wants me to be. As matter of fact, I swayed of His path recently and I ended up with a sudden un explained limp in my hip.

I don't profess to be a pioused Christian but I do profess to be a sinner with a lot of messed up ideas about religion and some holier than thou people's attitude.

Charlie's Church of Christ said...

so this has nothing to do with the content, on the title, but one of my top 5 books is Disappointment with God by Philip Yancey.

To be honest I don't know what to expect of God anymore - sometimes I can expect him to show up big and other times I can expect him to take the silent route. He's not very formulaic and I haven't picked up on his pattern yet, other than mercy.

Arny said...

I've always been facinated with Abraham's faith. Here is this guy that was promised a son and after 25 years his barren wife gets pregnate. And this son will be a line of a great nation. But when Issac is older...God tells Abraham to sacrifice his most prized possesion and his promised "desire" of a son. But Abraham has sooo much faith that the bible says he wakes up early the next morning and is about to strike the knife for the sacrife of his son, But God stops him and calls him his friend. Later in Hebrews it's revealed that Abraham had so much faith in God's promise that he was sure that God would have to raise Issac from the dead in order to keep his promise!

Tracy said...

I think I relate best to what Charlie says above about faith. There are times when I have to find my faith too. Sure am grateful that God is always faithful; that I can trust in His faithfulness rather than in my faith.

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