Friday, September 26, 2008

Disappointment with God

Sometimes we assume things that are far from life’s reality. For example, we assume we’ll have the health to do what we believe God called us to do, and we assume we’ll have the time and resources to do it. It’s natural to assume you’ll always have the love of your life by your side.

I’m sometimes asked if I feel cheated or angry about losing Tammy. Of course those are very real human emotions and, yes, I do struggle with them. Following her death, I realized that every dream I owned had her front and center. She was my dream buddy. We were in the throes of re-dreaming our lives, our family, and our ministry together. It was exciting to dream with her. She was so full of life and willing to go anywhere and do anything. She was developing a confidence that thrilled me and made me proud. It’s nearly impossible to imagine doing life without her. Yet death has separated us for now. The dreams died, but not the ability to dream. Am I disappointed? Yes, but not with God. Of course it’s tempting to blame Him, but I dare not, because He’s not the problem, nor is His plan for Tammy the problem. The problem is me.

I once assumed God's obvious grace and goodness to me had a lifetime guarantee. Never did He promise me Tammy would always be by my side. Never did He promise life would be a smooth road. Never does He promise things will go as I’ve planned. Like many people, I’m guilty of presumption. James poignantly addresses this problem.

"Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:13-14).

Life must be dreamed, planned and engineered to the best of our ability. This is the responsibility of every believer. What we cannot do is fight the Lord's right to a deeper or broader plan that governs the affairs of His children. We must hold to the knowledge that our lives are but a mist, or we’ll be consumed with disappointment in God and with life itself. We mustn’t slip into a twisted logic that pushes God away as impotent.

How then do you struggle? Disappointment can overwhelm us unless we meet God with a greater sense of trust—even when we don’t understand Him. We can trust His infinite wisdom and affection for us as we fall into His hands and wait for His moving. James encourages us to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that" (v. 15).

So this day begins for us with plans, schedules and appointments...Lord willing. We’ll do life to the best of our ability, according to His sovereign will. We’ll live and do this or that, and He’ll be glorified by our trust.

I am so satisfied with Jesus!

Ed Litton


Anonymous said...

It brings to mind how Cain was disappointed by God's response to his offering. His disappointment grew into anger and he took life because of it. How often we allow disappointment to rob us of life!
Yet, God has a safe place for each of us to run -harbor us from the rest of the world.
I am an awful assumer who prays that I learn to "count my days". Having that perspective could radically change one's life!
Praying for you and your family

Anonymous said...

I am blessed by your words this morning. Thank you, Jan

Jackie Louch said...

God is surly at work in the providential circumstances of your life Pastor. I am learning to recognize God's providential care in my life each day and to thank him for it ~ trusting Him even when the details do not seem to be going the way I think they should or I plan for them to go! "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" Romans 8:28 Love you!!

MessickMom said...

Oh how I totally understand your thoughts in this blog! My life has been totally re-arranged by the events of this past summer. While I was once disappointed, it's now such a blessing to have Victoria by my side. Down Syndrome has opened our eyes to a whole new world. I feel my dreams for music and ministry are on the backburner, but your words remind me that God just has a different plan. Things may not be as I imagined them, but that doesn't mean He cannot use me where I am. It's actually possible that He can use my gifts to reach a new and differnt audience that needs to hear of His love.

Anonymous said...

It is so very easy to blame God, however I believe that in God working within our lives, strength and change are all in the plan.
God does show us not only how to live in peace and hope, but God gives and takes away, but belief that life without this hope is not tangible and not possible.
He reigns and grace is his!

Sue Cook

Tucson, Arizona

Andy Wood said...

"We mustn’t slip into a twisted logic that pushes God away as impotent."

Wow. Amazing expression of perspective and trust. Thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

What a blessing. The moment I found out about what had happened in your family, my heart sunk as I was sitting in my office at lunch with a couple of coworkers. I remember my words: God will be glorified in this. I'm not worried that Pastor Ed will "fall away," but he will be used in mighty ways.

You see, the Lord spent 2 good years teaching me about His sovereignty. Not that I'm not still learning, but these years were intense. After learning that it was all about His glory and that He never promised for things to be easy, fear enevitably showed up.

I remember listening to John Piper challenge his church to fill in the blank of a statement I will never forget: "Faith says, I love God more than_____." I remember God challenging me in the floor of my dorm room to fill that blank in with the one thing that was so important to me-- my husband (who at that point was only my boyfriend). He went further in the challenge and asked me to commit that if it was for His glory that my husband be taken one day, that I would not only be okay with it, but that I would want it-- because I love God and His glory more.

I committed that day (to the best of my ablity)-- only to hit fear right in the face. The year following was spent trying to figure out how, if God loved me, would He let something like this happen to me? His answer was: My mercies are new every morning, and My grace is sufficient. Although these words, that I had "known" all my life as a believer, were comforting, I still found myself fearing the reality of it happening.

So, needless to say, when I heard about what happened to you, only knowing you from a distance, I have not stopped praying for you and your family. I have longed to share this story with you-- only to say, Praise the Lord! I am so blessed to see the truth: that His grace is sufficient and you are walking in it. I know it's hard- but I am so thankful to see that if I do, one day, have to endure this pain, I will survive- by His grace. Thank you for your posts. I'm praying for your familly