Disappointed

Yes, it is true–God will remain faithful even when you’re not, because his faithfulness rests on who he is, not on what you’re doing.

Paul David Tripp

Paul Tripp wrote a Wednesday Word about disappointment that really struck a chord with me. He lists six signs you are a disappointed Christian:

  • Disappointment with God
  • Lack of motivation for ministry
  • Numbing yourself
  • Envy of others’ lives
  • Letting go of the habits of faith
  • Greater susceptibility to temptation

I read through the list thinking, I’m not disappointed with God! I might lack motivation for ministry. I am guilty of numbing myself. I do envy others’ lives. I have let go of habits of faith. Surely my susceptibility to temptation is worse than EVERYone else. YIKES! I think I may be disappointed with God!?!?

I am still disappointed that my trip to Israel was cancelled last year. I am disappointed that I’ll never celebrate another wedding anniversary. I am disappointed when the dogs destroy something else. I am disappointed when someone hurts my feelings. I am disappointed with myself. I never thought that in boiling down all that disappointment, really I am disappointed with God and I don’t feel good about that! I felt way better being disappointed with everything else, I feel really bad about being disappointed in God — how dare I?

But I do dare! My friend Allyson, an Army wife, once said, “I don’t need to know the future, or God’s plan but couldn’t he just let me look at the outline?” I want to look at the outline too! But instead of the outline I get his word that takes faith to apply to my own life. I get an outline that seems too abstract to be a guide for my little pointless life. Ultimately my disappointment is a lack of faith. An inability to trust that God is in control and he does have a plan that is greater than what I could conceive.

But, Dr. Tripp does offer us hope! We can admit our weakness to God, become more aware of the things we say to ourselves, seek the company of those who have the confidence, joy and motivation you lack and look for reasons to be thankful and encouraged.

It really comes down to perspective. How do I handle the disappointments I face. Do I face them with hope, trusting that God is in control and that I know how the story ends? Or do I listen to the soundtrack in my mind that repeats, you’re not good enough, you’re not worthy, you don’t deserve better? This old SNL clip is funny, but all joking aside it does matter what we say to ourselves. It matters way more than you think it would.

And if what I say to myself matters so much, think how much more the words I say to others matter. My default is snarky and sarcastic, that’s not always well received, I know I’ve been a disappointment to many. But I also don’t want to disappoint and if I’m not going to disappoint I have to put effort into building up myself and others.

So my prayer for us today is that we would embrace our fuzzy vision trusting that God knows our future and promises us it will all work out in the end

Even the sparrow finds a home, 
    and the swallow a nest for herself, 
    where she may lay her young, 
at your altars, O Lord of hosts, 
    my King and my God. 
Blessed are those who dwell in your house, 
    ever singing your praise! Selah 

Psalm 84:3-4