In my last article I discussed the vulnerability of trusting. I asked if we would choose to brace ourselves for the result of fear–or embrace God, who tells us not to fear. I declared I would embrace God and trust Him.
(Now, to be honest, I am writing from very current and fresh experiences in my life. These are lessons God is teaching me right now. So while the situational details are unimportant, my sanctification is of the utmost importance and I aim to be transparent with it.)
My last few posts about trusting God have stemmed from a possible opportunity which had presented itself to me: an opportunity I dearly desired and anxiously hoped for. I had committed it to God; I prayed earnestly for His will to be done and His intentions made clear, and I begged that my petition might fall into accordance with His plan.
I grappled with this issue for over a week; I knew I needed to trust God and leave the results to Him, yet I was terrified of the disappointment if my dream failed. I was afraid of my hopes being proverbially shattered.
It was in this little nook in my heart where God began chiseling away.
Despite my repeated claims that I would trust Him, I was still fearing that He would disappoint me. I was doubting the certainty of the hope He has placed in me: the hope that liberated me from my former decaying bondage to sin and self, the hope which redeemed me and claimed me as a child of God and maintains that He works all things in my life for His good plans (Romans 8).
To put it simply, I was not embracing God. I was still bracing myself in fear.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” (Romans 5:1-5)
Hope does not disappoint us–legitimate hope, that is. We can have desires and wishes for selfish ambitions (okay, so they don’t have to be selfish necessarily), but I am beginning to wonder if we use the word “hope” too loosely.
I am beginning to realize that only what I hope for in Christ will not disappoint me. So here I begin wading and waddling through the thick mud of pride and humanity: If I am disappointed, perhaps it means I was placing my desires for fulfilment, my hopes, in something other than Christ.
So now I am not only disappointed, but wrongfully so. 😦
I appreciate Wikipedia’s definition of the word:
Disappointment is the feeling of dissatisfaction that follows the failure of expectations or hopes to manifest. Similar to regret, it differs in that a person feeling regret focuses primarily on the personal choices that contributed to a poor outcome, while a person feeling disappointment focuses on the outcome itself.”
In my situation, the opportunity I was anticipating did not happen. But instead of contenting myself with knowing God did answer my prayer for direction–and apparently I was not to turn here–and instead of taking comfort in remembering He is still in control of my life, I chose to be frustrated and embittered that what I wanted wasn’t what I got. It was then revealed to me that the reason for my dissatisfaction was a failed expectation of something, other than God, to fulfill me.
That really stings.
I happened to be regurgitating all these thoughts to myself, while driving to the grocery store, when a new song began playing on the radio. The lyrics, unfamiliar to me, added to my discomfort…and my humility:
Take My hand and walk where I lead
Keep your eyes on Me alone
Don’t you say “Why were the old days better?”
Just because you’re scared of the unknown
Take My hand and walk
…You’re afraid to carry on
But you don’t know what’s comin’
But you know the one who holds tomorrow
I will be your guide
Take you through the night
If you keep your eyes on Me…
So God used my disappointment as an appointment for learning about hope, real hope. As I’m beginning to realize, He is far more interested in my spiritual sanctification than my physical satisfaction. This appointment was similar to a doctor’s visit, getting pricked and poked and just plain-not-fun. But this appointment made me appreciate my disappointment, and it has continued to strengthen my understanding that satisfaction is only found in God, and in God alone. Like a popsicle dropped in the sand, this life will always fail me–but God will not.