When God Doesn’t Meet Your Expectations

When you are disappointed by God

Dealing with Disappointment with God

We expect a lot from God. And we should because he is . . . well, God. He all-powerful, purely good, and infinitely loving. It is right to expect great things from God.

But, let’s be honest, sometimes God just doesn’t come through the way or at the time we were sure he would. The ill friend we were praying for dies before receiving her healing. A wayward child we’ve been begging God to bring back is still living a destructive lifestyle. Instead of the financial breakthrough we were counting on, the washing machine breaks and we are out even more money. I’m sure you have your own examples of God’s lack of response to your earnest and heartfelt prayers.

What do we do when God doesn’t meet our expectations? How can we wrap our minds around the fact that he is omniscient and omnipotent and yet we still suffer?

Jesus’ resurrection helps us put our unmet expectations into a proper perspective.

We can become so accustomed to the Easter story that we forget the intense human response to the events as they unfolded in real-time.  This was a supremely emotional event for all involved.  That’s why we call it The Passion.  We have the benefit of knowing what was to happen on Sunday morning and the distance in time somewhat numbs the emotions.  Maybe too numb.

I’m convinced that we cannot grasp the magnitude and meaning of Easter Sunday, nor experience the Joy and Hope it offers if we have not first considered the weight and sorrow of Good Friday, and all that seemed lost.

I can imagine it would be easy for many of Jesus’ followers to say to themselves on Saturday morning, “Well, I guess I was wrong.  He must not have been the Messiah after all.  I’ve been duped.”

Whenever I head down a road that I believe God intends me to walk and then my world suddenly goes crazy and life takes unexpected wrong turns, my first thought is usually something along these same lines.  “I must have been wrong.  I must have misunderstood what God was doing in my life.  Surely this is not what He intended for me, is it?

God often works in ways that seem so contrary to how we think He should work. #unexpectedblessing #disappointmentwithgod Click To Tweet

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

It is impossible for us to think the way God thinks. 

There is no one like Him.  The way He works is a mystery to us.  We can’t understand what He’s doing any more than your dog can comprehend what work you do on your computer.

When we can’t understand God, we can always look to the cross. Click To Tweet

We cannot grasp His mind, but on the cross, He has laid bare His heart for us. 

He didn’t just talk about Love.  He showed us how huge His Love for us is and the extent to which He is willing to sacrifice Himself for us.  I love how The Message puts it:

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us?
~ Romans 8:31-32, The Message

Everything He gave up, lay down, and sacrificed was because of His great love for you. Jesus chose to go to the cross.  He was not forced, nor was he a captive prisoner.  Jesus was not killed by people who simply misunderstood who He was.  Despite how it looks to our human perspective, the people who did such awful things to them were playing along with His plan.

I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.
~ John 10:17-18

When God doesn't meet your expectations
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The Cross was not an accident.

He told Peter, and us, that He could call out to God and instantly more than 12 legions of angels would be there to serve Him (Mt 26:52-54).  Don’t think for one minute that Jesus died because He was unable to overcome the opposition.  This was His choice because it was the only way to rescue the people He loves.  We are wholly incapable of rescuing ourselves.

But, Oh! How difficult it was for those who loved and followed Him to understand all this on that dark Friday so many years ago.

When I am hurt and confused and disappointed in the way God is (or is not) moving and working, I can find rest in thinking of today as Saturday. 

A glorious Resurrection is just around the corner, but I can’t see it yet.  Yes, Jesus has conquered death and sin, but until He returns or calls me home, I won’t see the fullness of all that He has redeemed and resurrected.

When your faith falters on Friday, hold on because Sunday is on the way! Your resurrection will come. #suffering #redeemed Click To Tweet
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