Disappointed with God?
Hard Questions . . . Often Unanswered!
This post takes about 3-1/2 minutes to read)
Our August 31st routine hasn’t changed in twenty-seven years. But this year, we honored Vanessa’s memory with Allison, one of her two best childhood friends. The other, Jordanne, was faithful to the day as well, sending us a warm greeting at the crack of dawn. Sitting today by Vanessa’s gravesite, my mind’s eye pictured four beautiful ladies . . . Caroline, Allison and Jan with me; Vanessa already home.
I’m also thankful today for Bill Smith, an old and gnarly US Naval Academy wrestler like me, who recently sent me a new daily devotional. Written by Walter Henrichsen, it sports an edgy title; Thoughts From The Diary Of A Desperate Man. I’m not ashamed whatsoever to confess that in the circumstances of Vanessa’s death, I was a desperate man. To say I was “disappointed” with God would be akin to saying that Hurricane Dorian’s approach to the Florida coast is going to make things a bit windy.
Henrichsen says this, “Hope in life does not come from understanding the circumstances that invade your life . . . or from the resolve to face the circumstances. Rather, you find hope in recognizing that what you perceive to be good and evil come from the hand of [a sovereign] and gracious God.” Yes, biting theology, and many will stumble at Henrichsen’s proposition. It resonates, however, with what the writer of Hebrews says, “Faith is the assurance of what we hope for, and the certainty of what we cannot see” (Hebrews 11:1).
Today’s visit to Vanessa’s grave site had an added dimension. Allison is a bright, beautiful, and incredible gifted Physician Assistant (PA), exceedingly well trained with a remarkable command of urology physiology and treatment . . . until three years ago. At that pivotal junction in life, a surgery to remove a cyst on her brain went badly, and in the endgame, Allison was stripped of her short-term memory. She remains witty and articulate in the moment—quintessential Allison—but she now struggles with the life impact and professional consequences of her brain injury. Allison has forfeited her PA profession . . . and for an undetermined season, much of her daily freedom. Allison’s family and friends (including Jan, Caroline and me), are praying that her recovery will accelerate, but it’s been painstakingly slow . . . and the future is unknown. Are we collectively disappointed in God’s handling of Allison’s burden in life?
Some years ago, I would have said, “Yes!” But not today. I’ve come to realize that I can’t expect answers to every circumstance in life this side of eternity. I can, however, trust in God’s sovereign role in my life (and in Allison’s), even when I’m crushed by the turn of events. To other desperate men and women in their circumstances, Henrichsen says this, “The heroes of life are not those born wealthy, living seemingly carefree existences, but those who face the disappointments of life in the power of God.”
Are you (or someone you know) disappointed with God . . . or perhaps even infuriated with him? Confess it to him openly . . . let it rip! Then pick up Psalms. They’re full of the emotions and turmoil of life and the writers of Psalms hold nothing back! Psalms give voice to our most perplexing and disappointing questions in life. Read them and they will read you. Take for example the writer’s grievances in Psalm 13. . . “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? Look on me and answer, O Lord, my God” (13:1; 3). But sometimes he doesn’t this side of eternity.
No one is able to answer all the tough questions of life that crash into our lives. But I like what Henrichsen says to conclude his piece in today’s devotional. “Your prosperity [and peace] reside in your relationship with Christ, which is eternal.” I’ve learned that it’s only there that we can rest in our disappointment without all the answers.
Anything less than that results in a resignation to the hurts of life . . . which often leads to a victim mindset. Don’t go there! Instead reach for the eternal God.
“I will trust in your unfailing love: my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me” (Psalm 13:5-6)