“God won’t disappoint you.”
“God never lets us down.”
I read those two statements in the same morning and bristled both times. Maybe it makes me a bad believer, but I question the truth of those words.
God won’t disappoint me? God will never let me down?
If you’ve spent any time in church, you’ve likely heard that “every good and perfect gift is from above.” While that is true—biblical even—I can’t help but wonder when and where the church adopted the counterpoint to that statement: “Every hardship is from the devil.”
Because that’s the assumption, isn’t it? Blame satan, sin, spiritual warfare… but don’t blame God for your heartache.
The question I wrestle with today is how? How can one believe in a loving God who holds all things in His hands, while also believing that He allows things to slip through His fingers? Is God in control? Or does satan sometimes blindside Him?
“Whoops. That wasn’t supposed to happen. Um, it’s satan’s fault. Sorry.”
I have a hard time believing that could be true. I can’t imagine that the God who so carefully crafted the universe could be so careless with something so dear to my heart. It doesn’t line up with what I know to be true of Him.
So as I stand here resting my head against the door He briefly opened and then so suddenly slammed in my face, I find myself disappointed (to put it mildly). Not in satan, sin, or spiritual warfare, but in the God who elected that I should walk this road and bear this burden.
Because while it may be that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him, that doesn’t mean that the process isn’t painful. That doesn’t mean I will never feel disappointed or let down. That doesn’t mean I won’t be devastated by a sudden turn of events.
That’s not how life works. That’s not how the Author of Life operates. He doesn’t shelter us from the storms of life; He simply weathers them with us.
The word God burdened my heart with for this coming year is Expectant. I have to admit it seems a strange follow-up to my year of Be in which I dismantled all of my expectations. It feels like a completely backward way of thinking. It feels like a recipe for disappointment.
I am trying to be Expectant of good things—to believe that this year will bring forth beauty from ashes. To look to the future with hopeful anticipation, trusting God to deliver good things, while not letting my dreams take too specific a shape.
So often, God’s will does not align with my own, and when I expect it to, I find myself disappointed.
This isn’t what I wanted, even if God believes it’s what I needed. Even if He ultimately knows best.
This certainly isn’t the first time I’ve walked this rocky road of disappointment and doubt. It’s hard to believe in the goodness of God when dealing with what one can only perceive as senseless heartache. So to assign God the reputation of never letting us down… Well, that just makes for a lot of disgruntled believers.
Because life is full of disappointments. Sometimes God opens doors only to close them again. Sometimes He grants us opportunities that aren’t everything we hoped they would be. And sometimes, as disappointing as it sounds, His good and perfect gifts are forged in hardship.
But even in the disappointment…
I will continue to Expect beauty from these ashes. Because even in the disappointment, I trust that God’s heart toward me is good. I believe His will for me is pure.
And that, to me, is better than any misguided promise that life with Him will be easy.