Dealing with Disappointment
"I can't believe my life turned out this way. I am struggling with anger and disappointment with God. Is it worth trying to serve Him if this is how things turn out? "
Can you relate? Are you going through something in your life and wonder where God is? Do you find yourself debating if living the Christian life and serving God is even worth it? To be honest with you, I have been experiencing these feelings in my own life. I think if we were really honest with ourselves, we would all admit to thinking this way at some time or another.
Does having these feelings mean we are unusable for God? Well, the answer to this really depends on what our reaction is to our initial feelings. To understand what I mean, let's look at the lives of two individuals in the Bible.
Judas is one of the most infamous disciples, if not people, in all of history. He is known as the disciple who betrayed Jesus. How did Judas, who walked, talked and fellowshipped with Jesus every day, turn into the world's symbol of a cheating, betraying scoundrel?
When Judas began following Jesus as a disciple, he anticipated that, as the Promised Messiah, Jesus would overthrow the Romans and establish God's kingdom on earth. He jumped into following Christ wholeheartedly as visions of power and prestige danced through his head.
As Judas followed Jesus, he slowly began to see things weren't going as he expected. At first, Jesus was the man! He threw everyone out of the temple for desecrating it. Okay... first He fights the Jewish system, next will be the Romans. Jesus gathered huge multitudes of followers and they knew Judas was one of Jesus' top guys. However, things started falling apart.
Jesus started teaching some odd lessons about dying and being raised from the dead. Because of this, most of His followers left Him. Then word came that the Pharisees wanted to kill Him. Instead of going and fighting them, Jesus ran away to another part of Israel.
Judas was stunned! He wanted Jesus to start a new kingdom and give him power. Meanwhile, all Jesus did was hang out with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus even took the side of one of these low-lifes and rebuked Judas in front of everyone! Judas became disappointed with Jesus. Over time, this disappointment turned into anger, anger turned into hate and hate turned into betrayal. Judas looked to Jesus for what Jesus could do for him, never realizing Jesus wanted Judas to see what He could do through him. As a result Judas became unusable to God.
You may be saying to yourself, "Great, I have no hope of being used by God because I, like Judas, can't believe God allowed my life to become like this."
My answer is "no". I am not saying that. I am saying if you turn from God while feeling this way, then you will be unusable. However, if you run toward God during this time, then you will be an unstoppable force in His kingdom.
For example, look at the life of David. At a young age, David was anointed King of Israel. His future seemed clearly set before him. However, within 5 years, David was living in a wilderness cave, running for his life and cut off from his friends and family. The only companions he had were the outcast thieves and scum of Israel. This is not the way David imagined his life going, and there were times when he was disappointed with God. The Psalms are full of David's raw emotions during this time. Many times He questioned how God could do this to him. However, unlike Judas, David ran towards God, not away from Him.
David voiced his concerns to God. He sought His wisdom and guidance. He allowed God to minister to his broken heart over how His life turned out. Instead of letting anger and hate into his heart, David ran to God for help. David grew into a deeper relationship with God and years later, God brought him out of the wilderness and into His calling for David.
As we go through times of disappointment, disbelief and questioning of "how could God do this to my life?" We have two clear paths before us. We can dwell in our anger and bitterness and run away from God like Judas did, or we can run toward God and allow Him to do what He is trying to do through these circumstances. We can stay focused on what God isn't doing for us, or we can follow David's example and seek what God can do through us. One path leads to isolation from God and makes us totally unusable. The other path leads us closer to God and makes us completely useable for His kingdom. I am choosing the latter during my tough time, but your choice is up to you. I hope you make the same decision.