Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What Is...

...disappointment? I've read that it is "the feeling of dissatisfaction that follows the failure of expectations to manifest" or "to make unhappy by not being as good as expected or doing something that was hoped for."

I am well acquainted with disappointment. My mom says my standards are too high. No one and nothing can reach them. I have it in my head how I think people should act, what I think they should do, what I know I would do in the same situation. When the behavior does not match my expectations, I am disappointed. I hold out hope that people will figure it out on their own...that I won't have to tell them...because it is so much more meaningful when actions occur of their own accord - not because I dictated it.

I am extremely well-acquainted with disappointment in God. I think many people are, even if they don't admit it. It seems to be the waving banner of "strong" Christians to never admit doubt, hurt, betrayal at the hands of God. Okay, then, I'm weak...because I've experienced it all. I've talked to God about doubting His existence, His goodness, His wisdom. I've confided in Him about my hurt feelings and sense of betrayal. I've questioned His motives and talked about forgiveness...what do I do with the sense that I can't forgive Him? Is this a sin? I don't think so. Disappointment is a hope deferred. The Bible says this makes the heart sick.

S.I.C.K. -- not S.I.N.F.U.L.

Michael Card's book, "A Sacred Sorrow," is all about expressing our disappointment, our heart-cries, through the language of lament...admitting we are hurting, doubting, feeling alone, abandoned, forgotten. It is a longing expressed..."Please, Abba Daddy, draw near. Where are You? Why do I not feel your Presence? Why do I...Why am I...Why did this...Why did she...Why does it...Why do You...Why?Why?Why?"

There are stories in the Bible where we hear the hope, the disappointment, the resolution. Among them:
Hope: Rachel
Disappointment: Leah
Resolution: Rachel (even if Leah was the true keeper)

Hope: Love of brothers
Disappointment: Sold/prison
Resolution: Love of brothers

Hope: "Remove this cup"
Disappointment: Death
Resolution: Resurrection

I could list so many more but you get the idea. In all of these stories there is a happy ending. (I know...there are also the stonings, the crucifixions, the tortures...but when you are disappointed you don't focus on others' troubles!) I have a tendency to get discouraged. "Why did you answer yes to them? You listened to them. You drew near. Why did they get a happy ending?" Father reminds me...gently, quietly, repeatedly, patiently...

"Your story hasn't ended."

Now we see a blurred image in a mirror. Then we will see very clearly. Now my knowledge is incomplete. Then I will have complete knowledge as God has complete knowledge of me.
1 Corinthians 13:12

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