Earlier in the month we started thinking about disappointment. As I have spent time looking at root causes disappointment, and discovered that idealism, ego, lack of understanding, and lies one believes about themselves are all breeding grounds for disappointment. 
Idealism could also be understood as unrealistic expectations. If my desire is to meet my future spouse, I cannot spend all my time traveling around the globe failing to connect with people on a deep relational level. Idealism says that we’ll meet THE ONE while grabbing a quick burger between flights. Certainly, God can make that happen. I am not saying that HE can’t. However, I have logged a million air miles over the last fifty years and have shared an airplane with a lot of women. Women who fell asleep with their mouths hanging open, drool going down their face, snoring, hair a mess, and their face in an inflatable travel pillow. They are just trying to get home on a Friday evening flight after a long work week. While they might have been incredibly attractive in another environment, the situation was not the least bit romantic!

These scenarios only happen in movies. Unfortunately, the ways people often meet don’t normally qualify as Hallmark movie material. When we meet someone, we are interested in but are not at our peak maturity level we lack discernment. You cannot take the full measure of a person in a single sitting. Which is why dating is such a great idea. I am not saying that God won’t tell you who you are going to marry. He might, but He also gave you both a free will. He is not going to hogtie one of you and drag you to the altar. 

Do you know the secret to catching a fish? You have to go fishing a lot. There are many who have chosen to love and been left with a broken heart. It’s hard to start opening up again. However, if we are to find our mate, we have little choice but to try again. My wife and I met about four times before we had our first casual date together. 

You are not a tree, if there are no eligible people in your current sphere…move.  Join your church’s singles group, a local social group, take a dance class, or invest in sailing lessons. But whatever you do, start fishing. Pat used to describe it this way – if your heart is to catch a fish, stop fishing in the bathtub. Go where the fish are and expect God to do something there. God cannot do His part if you won’t do yours.

Personal ego also contributes to disappointment. I have met people who believe that because they’ve lived the sacrificial Christian life God is obligated to fulfill all their dreams. It is our society, not scripture, that tells us that “If I do right, everything will be right.” However, believers continue to believe that God will bless them if they read the Bible more, pray more, memorize more scripture, go to church more, tithe more or witness more.

These individuals are interpreting scripture in a way that makes God their servant, which I am pretty sure, isn’t going to happen. While they might not say it out loud, their lives tell a different story. Doing what the Lord calls us to do will require us to lay our lives down for others.  However, we don’t do it for a reward.  He is not a cosmic vending machine. Yes, we do get a reward for serving, however, we don’t get to choose what it is. God is not going to lay His job aside and do your bidding. This is about relationship, not about doing your duty. We do right because we love, not because we have to check a box in order to get goodies.

Misunderstanding brings disappointment. I grew up in the Southern Baptist Denomination. I was well aware of sin and the Biblical punishment for sin. I knew salvation as the personal acceptance of Jesus’ sacrificial death, burial and resurrection. The Lord separated me from the consequences of my sin and made heaven available to me. However, in my upbringing, discipleship and investing in a personal relationship with Jesus not taught. If it was, it was considered a series of rules to follow if I wanted to be considered a practicing Christian. 

In this theology sin is bad solely because it could keep you out of heaven. From a very simplistic view, I was taught that if I were to give myself to sin, I could always expect bad things in my life. The contrary then would also be true, if I were to pursue Godly things, then I could expect good things in my life. That principle is accurate, but not for the reasons we think. 

Proverbs 12:15, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”

The real reason behind God rewarding good choices is because they always tend to produce life in us and for us.

God rewards favor to those who follow life. Favor is ridiculously powerful in and of itself. Sin, on the other hand, produces, fear, stress, tension, poverty and eventually death. Yes, everyone dies. However, we all know people who grow old long before their time. Their lives were painful all because they chose to live the way they thought was best, or perhaps they didn’t know there was a better way.

The fundamental problem that stands between us and our best life is that I am often a stranger to the motivations of my own heart. Consciously, I may want to make the right decision. Unconsciously, the motivation of my heart may be self-protection.  Invariably self-protection will prevent me from choosing any option where I can’t control the outcome. My inability to engage risk taking or seizing great opportunities have will definitely stifle any progress in my life. In fact, it may cause me to avoid anything that looks like risk taking and resign me to simply surviving. 

Our performance-oriented culture has done an excellent job of telling us that failure is really bad, and it must be avoided at all costs. Consequently, we have an entire generation that lives vicariously through their phones, enjoys video games more than socializing face to face and despite being well educated, they still live like moles in mom and dad’s basement. That’s not the life that Jesus died to bring to us. 

Psalms 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!”
I believe that what David was saying was this, “Lord, you know that I have been faithful to deal with everything in my life You have put your finger on, but I cannot resolve the things that I cannot see. I can’t resolve the hidden beliefs and motivations of my own heart. If You will show them to me, I will wrestle them with you and straighten things out.”

What do you do with the situation where you’ve done everything right and it still turns out all wrong? Whose fault is that? Jesus said in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation.” 
If disappointment with God has been an issue for you, please lay your reasons out before God and ask Him for His input. You may even be surprised to learn that His “failure” to answer your prayer could be one of your greatest blessings.