How does one process the inevitable disappointment they feel when God’s timeline doesn’t line up with their own? I have been wrestling with this concept for a while. I’ll save you from the redundant pandemic grief speech, but boy has this year and a half done a number on us all.
As I still process the season of my life that I lost to the pandemic, I have been thrown into an entirely new one. One that expects me to fully function the way that I used to because now that we are getting back to “normal” (whatever that means) we must celebrate. Well frankly, I don’t want to rain on anyone's parade, but sometimes it has felt really hard to celebrate. Instead, I have found myself questioning and waiting for God to answer my prayers and open doors while I am left feeling empty-handed saying “now what?”
Maybe you relate in this current season, or if this isn’t your current reality, I have to believe a good portion of you have grappled with the following questions at one point or another. “Why do I feel like I need permission to feel grief?” “Why do I feel like I have to bottle up the feelings I am experiencing?” “Am I a “bad” Christian because I am questioning God’s deliverance and provision?” There has been a mental roadblock between myself and the satisfaction of the present moment.
So what do we do about it?
We simply must learn to wait and be still. Overcoming and managing disappointment helps us navigate those seasons of waiting on God’s timing. It’s okay to feel disappointed when our desires and prayers aren’t answered, but God has so much to teach us even in the seasons of doubt. Don’t hear me wrong, trusting in the Lord’s plan for the course of our lives does not mean we won’t experience heartache from time to time.
When we pray for something good to happen in our lives and it doesn’t play out that way, we grieve. This does not make you a “bad” Christian. Feeling disappointed with God’s timing is not a reflection of the quality of your faith. It is a reflection on your humanity. So many times I felt that if I was a “good Christian” I wouldn’t feel sad about my circumstances. If I was a “good Christian” I wouldn’t wonder why I was struggling. If I was a “good Christian” I wouldn’t feel confused about the fact that my hopes and dreams were being denied. I wish we could all take off our “good Christian” masks and be honest about the struggles and emotions we feel while walking through this broken life.
So where can hope be found in the midst of disappointment? Tell God how you feel; let him teach you on this journey and look for the lessons in this season. Pour your time, resources, and heart into Godly pursuits. The beautiful thing about God is that He makes up where we fall short. He not only hears and sees us in our grief, but He grieves right alongside us.
A few small things that I have found helpful:
- Create an open space for the people in your life to come as they are. They need it as much as you do.
- Attempt to reconnect with yourself and those around you.
- Be patient (or try to)!
- Love things as they are, not how you expected them to be.
- Seek small victories every day.
- Journal it out or talk with someone, those feelings gotta go somewhere!
& a few bible verses for encouragement:
- John 14:1-3, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me so that you also may be where I am.”
- John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you, I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
- 1 Peter 5:6-8, “So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
- Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
This too shall pass. You are right where you need to be. For there is as much to learn in the valley as there is on the mountain top.