Every single person in this world has been disappointed by someone – be it parent, sibling, friend, spouse, boss, co-worker, pastor, church friend or God Himself. Just like Adam, we have a tendency to blame others for our own weaknesses and failures. Adam not only blamed Eve but God when God asked why they were hiding from Him: “And the man said, The woman whom You gave to be with me—she gave me [fruit] from the tree, and I ate” Genesis 3:12. And that blame game has been going on ever since. Was God disappointed that man and woman sinned? I’m sure He was. Are we disappointed with each other, and even with ourselves when we fail? Of course! Sin brings with it disappointment. There is no getting around it. It’s what we do with our disappointment that can make a difference in our lives.
If and when we are deeply hurt, there is an anger that stirs in the human soul that is often beyond what our words can hold. We want and attempt to fix whatever has been broken and our energies mostly go towards repair. That is only natural and can bring us temporary comfort. But it’s been my experience and observation, that when a need isn’t met the way we’d like it met, that anger turns into a disappointment that can wreck our lives. In the process of fixing or trying to get our desires met, we often look to human resources rather than God. Of course it makes sense that if God is the one we are disappointed that He hasn’t answered our prayer as we had asked or how we thought it would be answered, why go to God for help? If you are mad at someone they are the last person you want to talk to! God gets all that. He alone knows human nature more than we do. But our searching for answers in natural or worldly ways can get us into even deeper do-do.
Here’s a fresh insight from Isaiah 31: “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses and trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but they look not to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek and consult the Lord.” When we go “back to” something that might have worked previously, or return to the sin that addicted us before, or because of fear of not getting what we want, we go to the world to meet our needs, we end up with more woes than we ever had. And notice is says “who go down to Egypt.” Going backwards always takes us into a lower place, not a higher place. We go down, get down, are pushed down and every other form of down you can think of. Israel wanted to go back to Egypt to get the food they used to eat when they were disappointed that getting out of Egypt looked so bleak to them. Sarah told Abraham to sleep with Hagar because she got tired of waiting for a son. It never turns out well when we take matters into our own hands and strive after those things we desire in this life in our own strength. I’d venture to say that most of our real disappointments in life are the result of going ahead of God and not waiting for Him to supply our needs and fulfill our desires His way.
We shouldn’t get into any guilt over it though. Psalm 55 is a great part of Scripture where we can find solace when we are disturbed. “Listen to my prayer, O God, and hide not Yourself from my supplication! Attend to me and answer me; I am restless and distraught in my complaint and must moan…Evening and morning and at noon will I utter my complaint and moan and sigh, and He will hear my voice” (vs 2, 17). If it seems like God has let you down, tell Him all about it! He isn’t bothered by what we feel on any given day. Let it rip if you need to get something off your chest. Every time I do that, there is a refreshing that comes on the heels of being honest. God honors honesty. Psalm 51:6 declares, “Behold, You desire truth in the inner being; make me therefore to know wisdom in my inmost heart.” The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of truth. So whenever you feel mad at God, the Holy Spirit will help you get in touch with what’s really bothering you.
Back to disappointment…it’s the feeling of having the rug pulled out from under you. When you have been disappointed in life, it sucks motivation to try anything else and it can lead to a life of cynicism and downward thinking. Disappointment with God is worse because it makes you want to run away from God not towards Him. Yet once we run away from Him, it embeds the disappointment and then the enemy runs over us and mars God’s image to us more and more. It really does bring upon us “woes” we otherwise might not encounter. We then start demanding from those strong horses and many chariots to be everything we want, and of course, we want it “right now.” But it always leads to a dead end.
Instead of going back to Egypt, which is a symbol of human strength not from God – run right into God’s arms! Come knowing He knows very well what disappointment feels like. Remember from where we fell and be humble knowing that we have all missed the mark. But God in his mercy and grace has saved us. That’s the best part of it – He knew we missed the mark and yet He came for us, delivered us from slavery to sin and desires to give us the desires of our hearts. God wants to do it His way, which is always better for us than what we could do ourselves. Roll all your disappointment onto Him. He can take it and understand you deeply and fully.
The last 2 verses of Hebrews 4 are great:
“For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].”