How do you respond to disappointment?
Scripture: "O Lord, you have deceived me, and I was deceived; you are stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me." Jeremiah 20:7
I feel like I can go to God in prayer in anything, whether it's praying to somehow have an abundance of time on a busy week, a tough conversation I'm preparing my heart for, or praying for a serious health condition of a family member or friend.
I hope you have learned to go to God in anything, because His promise is that He hears us (1 John 5:14). But how do you respond when you're faithful in prayer, obedient in your actions, and you still feel disappointed?
Maybe God didn't show up when you were on your knees every day, asking for a miracle.
Maybe the outcome of a circumstance was the opposite result of what you'd hoped for.
Maybe, you just feel so far from the future you hope for, your days drag on with discouragement and disappointment while you hunger for more.
Disappointment is something we are all presented with, in big amounts and in small amounts, every day. And every day, we have a choice in our response.
One response, is to stay in it. It's to trust the disappointment as truth, to trust in the emotions we might be feeling and to allow our thoughts and feelings to direct us further from God. It isn't difficult to do this, although reading this I'm sure you don't want to be someone who makes that choice. It's often gradual.
You are faced with disappointment, and then you think about what you prayed for. It seems like your prayer wasn't answered, or maybe it was even ignored.
Does God really hear you? Does He really care?
Slowly, there is a small amount of doubt that grows from this root of disappointment. What began as a simple disappointment begins to grow into doubting the goodness of God.
Or, we can choose to draw near to God. We can press into Him, and go to Him with the disappointment and allow Him to fight it and to help us to understand it.
Jeremiah was frustrated with God and disappointed. He was obedient, and by most standards, it seemed like his ministry was a failure. He felt like God deceived him because he obeyed God, but what did he have to show for it? Yikes, I feel you, Jeremiah.
One thing I love about God is that He isn't afraid to engage with our humanness. Actually, I think He loves to engage with it, so much so, that He sent His Son fully God and fully human.
He knows disappointment Himself, and He's ready and able to walk us through it all the time. But we have to go to Him with it. I honestly admire Jeremiah's disappointed and frustrated prayer, because it shows me his relationship with God. It tells me that Jeremiah knows that God can handle everything. And Jeremiah's choice in this moment wasn't to give God the silent treatment, but to go to Him with all of His frustration.
Disappointment can come from unanswered prayers, so it might seem difficult to respond by going to God with prayer. But I promise you, He is ready to transform your disappointment and to speak into the area of your life that has caused it.
Mark Batterson says it like this:
"Disappointment is like dream defibrillation. If we respond to it the right way, disappointment can actually restore our prayer rhythm and resurrect our dreams"
(The Circle Maker, pg. 37).
God is in the business of restoring everything. I think that includes the small disappointments we face every day, and the big disappointments that seem to knock us off our feet and sometimes even cause us to doubt the character of God.
What if God wants to transform your disappointment today?
What if, He is ready to "restore your prayer rhythm and resurrect your dreams?" I think it starts with praying through your disappointment and frustration. The choice is yours--to either allow disappointment to drive you further from God, or closer to Him.
-Write about a disappointment you have faced recently.
-How do you see God's hand in that disappointment? Ask the Holy Spirit for His perspective on it.
-What does transformation of your disappointments look like? How can you share your disappointments with God?
Transformation starts with honest communication with the Father. Spend some time prayerfully confessing your disappointments to Him. Invite His Spirit to bring transformation to them.
God thank you for being with me in the midst of disappointment and for being a compassionate and loving God. Help me to receive your vision for my disappointment and to allow it to draw me closer to your heart. Send your Spirit to speak into my disappointments this week, and to ultimately trust you despite whatever disappointments I might face. Amen.
Respond in worship with "Highs & Lows" by Hillsong Young and Free