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Within the last 25 years of my becoming a believer many seasons have come and gone. There have been times of harvest, just as there have been years that seem to have been wasted. (By the way, as far as the phrase “becoming a believer”, well, I still am becoming one)
Nights spent speaking to the guys at the Jackson County Jail or other evenings sharing with the kids at the Juvenile Detention Facility. Only to have become discouraged when no one else would go and in time, quit going at all.
There have been seasons of heartache as well. Rivers of tears have flowed from my broken heart. You can relate, I know.
Times of despair that paralyze; leaving me little more than a “shell” of a man that could find no reason to get out of bed. This is not unique to me.
Victory that was so glorious that I never could find the words to describe them. You remember those days too.
I’ve had those times of what seemed to be “defeat”; those days when I was sure I had “disappointed the Lord”. But, did I, have we?
I used to think so, but not any more.
Most dictionaries define disappointed as “depressed or discouraged by the failure of one's hopes or expectations”. Most of the folks I’ve talked with use it pretty much this way.
“I really let the Lord down this time.” Or “I’m sure I disappointed God when I did that” are a couple examples of the way we use the word without saying it, we still “feel” like it, though, don’t we? I know I have.
My question is this; are we using it correctly when we say things like this? I don’t think so.
I like to answer questions by asking another question. Why?
Because I know how important it is for the listener to think through, for themselves, what we are discussing. It stretches us out to think beyond what we used to think, feel or believe.
If we make it through the conversation then you will see that you haven’t just “sat and listened” but you became engaged, you got involved and it is in this way that most teachings become “our own”. They become a part of “Us”.
So, the first question is this: Is it possible to disappoint God? Have there been times you’ve felt as if you had “let Him down”?
Think with me now, and answer the next question I have for you, okay?
Letting God down, disappointing Him, implies that there was a moment in time that He did not know what you were about to do; is that possible?
For us to answer “yes” to this question we have to tear out large portions of our bibles because they are not true.
Essentially we are saying that we have found a way to do something, anything, without Him knowing.
If that is true, then it stands to reason that we can no longer say that He is omniscient or, all knowing.
One more illustration, are you ready? Okay.
We have said “I feel as I failed Him when I did that.”
Aren’t we really saying the same thing?
That He expected me to behave in a way that is in keeping with His nature and since we haven’t grown into that yet then His being disappointed with me is understandable.
Isn’t that the same as saying, for example, I ask my 10 year old son to move my truck to the other side of the garage and then I am disappointed when he destroys the truck and the wall that used to separate it from the house?
Is my disappointment justified?
There is so much more that could be said about “disappointment”, but I’ll leave you to ponder that before Him at your leisure
Moving along now, how are we to answer the people that say things like;
“You really need to prove yourself now.” And those words are spoken with the silent implication that you have to “prove yourself to God”.
Aren’t they saying the exact same thing? That the Lord did not know that you would do just as you have done and since you surprised Him you now have to gain His trust again?
Let’s look back at the general definition of the word “disappointed”, shall we?
Disappointed- depressed or discouraged by the failure of one's hopes or expectations.
If that is the sense of the word you use and you use it while speaking of your failures as a believer, then allow me to ask you some more questions and then I’ll leave you to talk it over with our Father.
(His definition of a word, any word, is not the same as ours, more often than not.)
What expectations does He have of us?
Okay, you just had three of four verses go through your mind, I just know it. Before you “go back there” I want you to do something.
Trust Him enough to be willing to forget what Pastor “So-n-So” told you and see if maybe you and that pastor just didn’t hear as well as you could have. We’ve all done that and we will yet again. (Kids don’t always listen too well, but parents still love them).
Depressed or discouraged by……by definition, right?
Okay, if we use the word “disappointed” the way most of us do, then answer me this;
To say that He is depressed and discouraged by our behavior is the same as saying that He is subject to me and my actions, isn’t it? Is that possible?
Finally, when others feel as if you have let the Lord down and they begin to treat you like a failure, remember this;
They may “dis” you, but you are still & forever “appointed”.
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Is their really such a thing as failure? When we feel we have failed, isn't it the one that we've failed that has the right to call it a failure? I believe we may stumble from time to time, but as long as we carry on in the way theirs no way to fail!