Ever been disappointed with God? Disappointed because there is something you wanted or expected and He hasn’t granted? There are a couple of reasons why we could be disappointed with God, and both call us to change our views and actions.
If I told you that I was deeply disappointed that you haven’t given me $500 yet, what would you think? After you got over the shock, there would be at least one response that you may have. If I never asked you for $500, the first response that you may have is to say that I never asked you. That would be reasonable because there is no way that you would know that I wanted the money if I didn’t ask. I use that illustration to point out that many times you can find yourself disappointed with God because, while you think about a particular need or concern, you haven’t been bringing it before the Lord. So often we spend more time wishing and fretting over an issue than we do laying our request before the Lord. James writes in James 4:2b: “You do not have, because you do not ask.” How much time do you spend in prayer bringing your request before the Lord? I think that we need to be more like the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8. That is the character of effective prayer – consistency and fervency. Not a “check off the box” petition, but a serious calling on God to work and answer. That kind of devotion demonstrates the belief that He is the only One that can answer and that He will answer. You can find yourself disappointed with God because you really haven’t sought Him earnestly on an issue. I learned a helpful acronym recently-PUSH. It stands for Pray Until Something Happens. If you did that and were devoted to prayer, I think that you would find yourself a lot less disappointed.
A second reason why a Christian may be disappointed with God is that, though they have prayed, they still haven’t gotten the answer they wanted. I have been studying the faith of Abraham in Romans 4. It’s interesting in that passage that the foundation of Abraham’s faith was what God has promised him. You can read back in Genesis 12 about the promise of offspring that would become a great nation. I think it is important to point out that Abraham’s faith and confidence were based on something that God had promised him. It wasn’t just something that he hoped for and therefore expected God to do. It’s interesting in Hebrews 11 that this same foundation of promise is brought up repeatedly related to faith. Those men and women walked by faith and trusted God based on promises that He gave them.
The problem that we can have in our faith is that we are hoping and believing God to do something that He hasn’t actually promised to do. That is crucial to understand. Abraham’s faith was based on a promise – something God actually said He was going to do. That is key to our faith. Our faith must be in things that God has actually said that He is going to do, not just what we hope for. There is nothing wrong with asking of God. He is often gracious and answers our request. But we need to frame our faith with Scripture or we can find ourselves hoping and waiting for things that will never happen. The problem is that we believe He has promised us things that He never said He would do. At times He has, in fact, said the very opposite. We need to hold loosely to those requests that are not clearly promised and tightly to those that are crystal clear. Christians can live a life of broken faith because they did not receive what God never said He would give them. It is so easy to want something and assume that God will give it to you.
I am amazed at Stephen’s attitude when he was facing being stoned at the end of Acts 7. There was no grumbling or complaining about what he was facing. I think part of the reason of lack of grumbling and complaining was that he knew that he was never promised a long life. In fact, Jesus promised His followers persecution and hardship. And that promise framed his attitude and response to difficulties. What has God actually promised you in Bible? As you read the Bible, note and journal the promises that God has given to you (just be careful and make sure that the promises apply to you). Your hope and expectation needs to be on the great promises He has given you. God is faithful to do what He said He would. When you ask and expect only what He has said He will provide, you’ll never be disappointed.