Is it wrong to be disappointed with God?
Disappointment with God is a feeling that most Christians recognize. “Why don’t I experience your love?” “Lord, why are you not helping me to find a job?” “I thought it was your will that I marry this man, but we are struggling.” “Lord, why did you not answer my prayers?”
Express your disappointments with God
These are not strange thoughts. We see a lot of disappointment with God expressed even in the Bible. In Psalm 102:9 and 10 we read “I eat ashes like bread and mingle tears with my drink, because of your indignation and anger; for you have taken me up and thrown me down”. Jeremiah, one of the great prophets, writes many complaints about God in his book. He even exclaims “O LORD, you have deceived me!” (Jeremiah 20:7).
These biblical examples show that it is better to express our disappointment with God than to deny it. Because in a sense, our disappointment shows our faith. We are disappointed with God because we expect good things from Him. We know that He is good and that He loves us. But sometimes life is so hard that we cannot see that. Then we become disappointed with God.
Disappointment is natural
Even Jesus was disappointed with God. On the cross He cried out “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). Jesus always had lived in a very close relationship with his Father, and now it was gone. He was disappointed, and He could hardly bear it.
This last example makes clear that disappointment with God does not have to be wrong – for Jesus was perfect, and He still was disappointed. Disappointment is a natural reaction when our human desires are not being met. As long as these are good desires, disappointment, even with God, is not bad. The important question is not whether we are allowed to be disappointed, but what we should do with our disappointment.
Seek the Lord
When we are disappointed with God, we should seek Him. If we allow our disappointment to drive us away from God, we will lose the way. But if we seek Him in the midst of our disappointment, we will meet the Lord and we will grow through the experience. Firstly, we will grow, because we will be close to Him and understand Him better. We will grow, because the wrong expectations that caused our disappointment will disappear as we get to know God better. We grow, because we start to trust that God brings good even out of our problems (Romans 8:28).
We understand only a very little bit of God. His ways are higher than our ways, his thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). Our disappointment with God often comes from thinking that we know what He should do. The solution is trusting that He knows better, and to tell Him ‘not my will, but Yours be done’.
Jesus shows his grace
Yet even in our disappointment, Jesus shows his grace. The men (or maybe husband and wife?) on the way to Emmaus were disappointed in Jesus (Luke 24:13-32). They turned their backs to Him, for they left Jerusalem even when people were starting to testify to the resurrection. But Jesus visits them, even though they are on the wrong way. That is grace. Their hearts are warmed by His words. They see the wounds in His hands, and they realise: Jesus is alive! That is the one and only true medicine for disappointment with God: an encounter with the living Christ. And so Jesus still reveals himself to us, until today. Our disappointment is stilled when we learn to say “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).