I wonder if we teach and preach enough about how to understand disappointment. Do we talk enough in our churches about what to do when we face imminent failure, or what to do when we cannot hear God for a long time, or we are confused as to what He is telling us? Many people talk to me about these things because they are experiencing it——and I so am I——and so did King David, the prophets, Mother Theresa, and every leader in the Christian faith. It’s not uncommon, but talking about it appears to be taboo.
In everyday life, sometimes quiet is needed in order to prepare for, and to be able to appreciate with all our senses, the sensation of an incredible finale of a play or movie, or a sporting event or musical performance. Sometimes being still is a prelude to an eye-popping explosion of unexpected events! The Psalmist learned the importance of being still and counseled himself to, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
What if we have it all backwards in this spiritual matter? What if a sign of God’s favor is the amount of pressure and stress we are under; what if a carefree, casual and pain-free life is a sign of a lack of God’s favor or confidence in us? What if His favorites, His “heroes”, are the very ones that are always near the brink of disaster and are frequently abandoned by the world, and the “light-weights” in God’s kingdom are those that coast through life as if they are charmed and insulated from despair and heartache?
Strange as it may sound, I don’t know of a single man or woman that I highly regard that is not now, or was not at some point in the past , in great pain, turmoil, danger, disappointment or intense persecution. It seems that it is the things our culture calls “unpleasant” (i.e. hurt, deprivation, injustice) that produces giants, heroes and legends, and it is the easy and charmed life that produces apostasy and a lukewarm church.
There’s a difference between having God’s peace and an ease of mind, with being free from the winds, hail, scorching heat and numbing cold of life; bad and sad things, along with long winding paths that appear to lead nowhere happen occur routinely in the life of a saint—there’s no avoiding or denying it.
So do not think it strange or a sign that God is disinterested in you or that He has forgotten you when times are tough and you can’t seem to find any answers, it might in fact be that He is far more interested in what you are doing, how you are handling your apparent failures and the manner in which hold up to the contempt and insults of others than you ever imagined. He might be orchestrating and allowing all these things that the world calls “defeats” for a divine purpose and that the conclusion of what you are going through is not going to be a disaster, but instead a miraculous and inestimable victory for Him and the work of His Kingdom.
Angels are watching and little “saints to be” are all around us hoping that we are the warriors He calls us to be.