“No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”
Have you ever felt disappointed by God? (Did I just say that out loud?!) Perhaps you have prayed for a spouse, a child, a relationship, a job, a physical healing, or a dream. After praying for weeks, months, or years – you have nothing. You have faithfully waited on the Lord, but all you have in return is more waiting. You were certain you heard from the Lord about a specific situation, but then things didn’t go as you planned. You want to believe God’s promises, but your circumstances sure do not reflect what is written in His Word.
While we don’t often talk about feeling disappointed by God, I believe many of us can relate. I can. When we pray prayers or make plans that honor the Lord, but then the prayers go seemingly unanswered, or the plans don’t materialize, our confusion and heartbreak can leave us feeling disappointed.
I personally just faced such a scenario. After years of praying, planning, and dreaming regarding a specific situation, God recently closed the door. While I fully trust God has my best in mind by closing the door, at least for now, my struggle relates to how the entire situation played out. I couldn’t help but wonder, why now? Why didn’t God just say no years ago? Why has this desire been in my heart for so long? Why so many little miracles and glimmers of hope along the way?
While I try to process how things unfolded, I find comfort in the fact that many Biblical heroes also experienced confusion and heartbreak that at times left them feeling disappointed by God.
Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, and Elizabeth were all disappointed by years of infertility. Job, Joseph, Moses, David, even the Disciples (seeing their Messiah crucified) all experienced great disappointments. No doubt at times they were each confused by God’s plans and timing.
A Biblical story of disappointment that stands out to me the most right now; however, is that of Elijah. In 1 Kings 18 we read of how the prophet Elijah called down fire on Mt. Caramel expecting that the demonstration of God’s power would cause King Ahab and Queen Jezebel to repent of their worship of Baal and turn to God. Cleary Elijah’s plan was one that would glorify God. However, things did not go as Elijah had hoped. While God did send fire, revival never came. Instead, Jezebel called for Elijah’s death. Elijah became so disheartened that he actually asked to die. No doubt Elijah was confused and disappointed as his God glorifying plan did not pan out.
This story, like so many others, illustrates that there will be times when we pray prayers, make plans, and envision dreams that honor God, and yet things won’t work out as we had hoped. There simply will be times in life when God acts or doesn’t act and we will be left feeling confused and disappointed.
So how do we respond during these times? I believe we have two options. First, we can allow our disappointment to make us feel bitter, angry, and defeated; giving Satan a foothold in our lives. Or, we can let the pain and confusion push us to pursue our relationship with God. We can choose to believe Psalm 84:11 which says, “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” The greatest good God can give us is a relationship with Himself.
If you are feeling disappointed by God today, it is okay to tell Him. Bring Him your hurt and confusion and trust that He will meet you where you are (Psalm 40:1–3).
We may face various trials and situations in life that are meant to test our faith. James 1:2-4 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Also, know that things may happen on this side of eternity that we simply won’t understand, but God in His sovereign wisdom is always orchestrating events and answering, or not answering prayers in order to direct our paths for His glory. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Lastly, while it is not always easy when facing disappointment, we can always find something to be thankful for. It is amazing what a change of perspective can do for us. Rather than focusing on your disappointment, thank God for loving you enough to direct your steps. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “Give thanks in every circumstance, because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Even in the face of today’s disappointments, do I believe God can still give me my heart’s desire, or change my desire altogether? Absolutely! Even in the face of today’s disappointments, do I believe God can answer your greatest prayer? Absolutely! While we wait, let’s choose to remember “No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Or as a plaque I once read says, “God gives the best to those who leave the choice to Him.”