Over the last year or so I have been increasingly aware of how important it is to handle disappointment well, especially but not exclusively disappointment with people. I’ve realised that my natural tendency is to withdraw from people who disappoint me, which is not very healthy!
However the bigger issue is that I have the same tendency to withdraw when I feel disappointed with God, which is even unhealthier; especially as I find it hard to even admit that I am disappointed with Him. I have discovered that this can cause me to subtly withdraw from God; I’m not even aware that I am doing it, yet alone know why.
These reflections have led me to the following conclusions.
It is ok to admit to being disappointed with God. My head may say I can’t feel disappointed with God; who are we the clay to feel disappointed with the potter? God is God and therefore can’t be questioned. However, whatever my head says doesn’t stop the heart feeling disappointed. Then in my case I can find myself withdrawing from God!
There is nothing wrong with being disappointed with God! Everyone is at one time or another; there is no reason to feel guilty about it. It is not sinful and it doesn’t have to make us sick.
Better men than I have been disappointed.
e.g. John the Baptist! Things didn’t work out as he expected. He and Jesus were cousins, there had been prophecies flying around about them since their births. Crowds were following John, he even baptises Jesus. We then find Matthew 11v2 “When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else.”
Jesus was sent to set the captives free, but John is in prison. It is not surprising that disappointment caused John to ask Jesus what is going on. Jesus doesn’t reprimand John for asking the question.
I have learnt that like John we can find ourselves in the prison of disappointment. The key is what we do about it. John faced it, didn’t just bury it, we should do the same.
The next few blogs will look at how we can healthily process disappointment, especially disappointment with God.
WRITTEN BY TONY THOMPSON
Tony is the leader of Hope Church Luton. He works full time for the church and is married to Anne and they have 2 sons.