Have you ever believed God for something and it didn’t happen? A friend believed God would heal her of a terminal disease, He didn’t (on this side of Heaven). A businessman trusted God would keep his company afloat. It went under. What do you do when your expectations of God don’t mesh with reality?
We’ve had some major disappointments ourselves recently and two questions have made the difference between bitterness and joy, expectation and defeat, depression and hope.
1. Is this disappointment a problem, or is it an opportunity to see God work in a way I didn’t expect?
2. What attribute of God am I struggling to believe is true in this circumstance?
Recently I heard Phil Vischer, the creator of Veggie Tales, describe the rise and fall of his dream. He repeatedly used the phrase, “God could have, but He didn’t.”
Phil knew his dream was in jeopardy and believed God would provide the funds to save it. On three different occasions he trusted God would defy the economic outlook and bless his projects. Three times God could have saved the company. Three times He didn’t do it. I learned a lot from Phil Vischer’s talk but it was his view of God that has intrigued and encouraged me.
“God could have.” The phrase reflects a confidence in God’s Omniscience (all-powerful) and Sovereignty (in total control). If God isn’t All-Powerful and in Total Control then we can have no confidence in His ability to do anything on our behalf. Have you ever longed to help someone but lacked the resources or power to do it? God’s good intentions mean nothing if He doesn’t have the power and the control to make them reality.
So, what happens when you know God could’ve done something, but He doesn’t? That’s where the rest of the attributes of God come into play. Do you believe…
• God Loves you perfectly? He loves you so much that He will say ‘no’ to your expectations when they conflict with His perfect, love driven plan.
• God Knows Everything. Because He knows the past, present and future, He knows that saying ‘yes’ to your expectations is not the best thing for you. (even if all your human knowledge and understanding says the opposite).
• God is Everywhere. He has not abandoned you (even if you feel like He has). He is with you every step of the way.
• God is Faithful to fulfill every promise. He didn’t promise that life would be easy. He didn’t promise to make every dream come true. He did promise to cause everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) It may not feel like it, but God is faithfully working to accomplish His perfect, love driven plan in your life.
• God is Righteous. He knows what the right thing to do is and He won’t compromise what’s right in order to make us temporarily feel better (about Him and about how He works in our lives).
Are you disappointed because God could have done something on your behalf and He didn’t? You are not alone dear friend! We’ve all been there! God is not surprised by our disappointment. He wants to help us wrestle through the emotions and hold on tight to the truth.
Ask yourself the 2 questions above and filter your disappointment through the character of God. It won’t necessarily take away all the pain, but it will give hope for the future!