Walking with God when you’re disappointed in Him
By Rachel Norman, A Mother Far from Home
It hurt me to type that sentence. “Walking with God when you are disappointed in Him.” Surely that is wrong. Sinful. Horrible. I must be the worst Christian around to admit that God has disappointed me.
Or else I’m just human.
Our view of God is molded by our own family life, childhood experiences, personal encounters, and our beliefs and value systems. We can grow up with loving families, happy childhoods, and bright future plans, and then life can still happen.
Illnesses, painful relationships, bad choices, sin against us, and pain. We often think being a Christian and following God will mean our life is rosey and wholesome filled with potluck dinners, saving the lost, and miracles. And sometimes it is. Then again… sometimes it’s not.
So how do we push through with God when we’re disappointed in Him?
1. We acknowledge we don’t always hear correctly.
I’ve often been disappointed in God because I’ve assumed He promised me something He didn’t promise me. I was disappointed with God for months because I thought he promised me this stud muffin of an Argentinian named Sebastian. In turn, I let myself be led on by someone who obviously wasn’t really into me. All because I thought God promised him to me.
Come to find out, Sebastian had a few flings going on. So I became disillusioned with God. How could I ever trust I’d hear from God when I was so wrong? How could He let me believe something that was untrue?
Ultimately, I had to accept the fact that I hear God through my own humanness, and sometimes I get it wrong.
2. We are honest with God.
I’d say God is like one of those punching bag clowns that gets knocked down and comes right back up again, except God can’t get knocked down no matter how hard we punch Him. Real relationships require honesty from the heart. If you stuff all your feelings of pain, disappointment, and confusion then you won’t have a genuine relationship with Him going forward.
You won’t be able to trust or have faith in Him. You’ll doubt He loves you. You’ll doubt He cares or listens. When you are honest about your pain, hopes deferred, and expectations dashed, He can meet you where you are and speak to your heart. It’s a process. But it only starts with honesty.
3. We keep going past the point of no return.
At one point I looked at my life and thought, “Mercy me, how did I get here?” I was going to go to law school at the University of Florida (my alma mater) and be a successful attorney who also worked tirelessly for charities. Now I’m in Australia staying at home with 3 kids working a job I don’t need a degree for. I’m not unhappy with where I’m at, but it is not where I planned.
I followed where I though God led me until I was past the point of no return. Now, if I tried to find my way back to the life I thought I’d have, it just wouldn’t even be possible. And honestly, I find safety in that.
4. We choose to trust in the bigger picture.
When we feel God has disappointed us it’s hard to trust. Before we can truly begin to trust God with every fiber of our being, we have to be honest before God and let Him comfort us. From that place of acceptance of the unknown, we must simply choose to trust Him.
Sometimes on a minute-to-minute basis, we must choose to trust God over our own emotions. It doesn’t mean we ignore how we feel or pretend we’re in some great spiritual place. We just choose to stay on the path.
5. Accept our season.
After reading great Christian literature and hearing many great godly speakers, I can only assume that dry spiritual seasons are a rite of passage. Have you ever read a biography of someone who did great things for God and hear only pages and pages of miracles, answered prayers, and still waters?
No. In fact, before, during, and after the miracles, answered prayers, and still waters there are unanswered prayers, deaths of dreams, visions or loved ones, and turbulent seas and storms. Through trying times God works on our characters. He chisels, purifies, and refines. It’s not a bad sign to be in a dry season just as a leafless tree in winter isn’t permanently dead.
We need to pick each other up, let each other be real, and encourage one another towards the bigger picture. Glorifying God in our lives. It’ll look different at different times, and that’s okay. Life isn’t always rosy. If it was, we wouldn’t need Jesus.