Belgian Christadelphians

Disappointed with God

By Beverley Russell

7. Are we disappointed with God when we suffer?

What then is the alternative - disappointment WITHOUT God? We would not want that!

John 11:25 “even though he were yet dead”? Even though your brother is dead? “Believeth thou this?” and Martha did believe.

The Bible never belittles disappointment. There are chapters of disappointment in Job, on anguish and despair and plenty of arguments. There is only one chapter on restoration in Job, (41). And “then Job answered …” The Psalms are full of how to deal with suffering and the hurts of our enemy, those who torture and revile and torment and threaten and tell lies about us. Each message there in the Psalms sends us back to God to heal our disappointment with Him, and to understand His ways.

What needs to be known is that what we feel now, will not continue. It will gradually be replaced by a more peaceful outlook on the situation. If God is your mentor you cannot struggle with God. Jacob could not struggle with the angel, who left him with a shuffling limp, a clicky hip, a shortened sinew, and a damaged sciatic nerve and arthritis. What would Jacob prefer? Surely he chose to bear the pain, and be reminded of a wrestle with God, than to be relieved of the pain, and forget Him. Paul, with his thorn in the flesh learned that it was best to bear it as a message from God, about dependence, and not to struggle any more for the healing of the thorn.

Our disappointment is in itself a sign that we hunger for something better, and whatever our suffering situation and disappointment with the outcome, that we will regain a better outlook. As we ache for something better, we long for a sign from God. In the absence of a sign/message from God, our faith and our hope are the longings for the end of the journey. We know that ”He will wipe our eyes of tears”, and that “our flesh will see God”, no more mourning, no more death, no crying, no pain, no fear and no more disappointment then, but what about now? The great promise is that we will see it all with our own eyes in future. So now we must do the mourning, and the tears and enduring the fear and pain and the disappointment?

2 Corinthians 1:3-7, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God, for just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort”.

It is the left behinds who worry and fret, and cannot see what good can come now. The disappointment, with God’s answer, can be overwhelming, but God’s disappointment with us and God’s rejection of us are worse. We may never know the purpose of our suffering, but we need to rest assured that God has one. None of His should ever risk rejection.

If we can come to terms with trauma and tragedy, and so forgive the unforgivable, and even ask for blessings upon the evil ones, we are well equipped with God’s mercy and His love and His compassion, and with an expression of His grace also learned from Him. The subject of forgiveness is not expanded here, but dealt with more fully in “Forgiveness and Reconciliation”.

To rectify injustice, instead of continuing in angst over the evil, often means that we go down a dark and complex path, coming to terms with our loss of character, or a loss of physical or mental ability. Then at the end of that path, God will transform us into a true child of His, where we will, like Him, embrace and extend forgiveness. With our good fruit we will remember not the evil and the evil one. This is how God wins the evil men, for it is their redemption also, when they seek it.


>> 7 Suffering continues