Last week I spoke about the disappointments of life that come to all of us. The emphasis was that we should deal properly with these disappointments and avoid growing disappointed with life itself. When disappointments come, we should allow them to draw us closer to the God of all comfort. We should allow them to remind us that this world is not our home, and that one day we will be with the Lord. That is true for all who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. For all who are born again. But when disappointments in this life are not handled properly, we are in danger of growing bitter towards God. We begin blaming God for what happens in our lives. Interesting article in the paper this week concerning Hillary Clinton's evaluation of her husband. She doesn't blame him for his moral failure and affair with Monica. She says, "He is just weak." How typical of today's thinking. No one is at fault… we are all victims. Since we didn't do anything wrong, we cannot or should not be held accountable for our behavior. After all, Jesus forgave Peter. Right?
There is a fundamental flaw in that type of thinking. It bypasses the need for repentance. God calls on us to take responsibility for our behavior. He calls upon us to repent and turn to Him in faith. When we fail to take personal responsibility for our actions, we must find someone else to blame. Once we begin blaming others, it is just a short step to blaming God. This morning I want to talk about the danger of being disappointed with God. Some of us have seen or experienced things in our lives that have produced a level of disappointment with God. He hasn't come through in the way we thought He should. Perhaps you came to Christ and found that circumstances didn't magically change. Life is still a struggle - maybe even more so. Maybe you refuse to come to Christ because they see in the world a grave injustice that ought to be rectified if there really is a God. There are many who think they are atheists or agnostics, but in reality they are just disappointed with God.
Note: Habakkuk 1:2
I. Questions of the Disappointed
When you stop and consider why we're disappointed with God, it comes down to two questions that are difficult to answer.
A. The first question is the "why" question: "Why did this happen?" cf. Job 7:20
1. Why did my mother and father die painful deaths with their bodies destroyed by cancer?
2. Why does an innocent child have to die at the hands of an abuser?
3. Why did my marriage fail?
4. Why does ... I'm sure that we all have our own versions of the "why" question.
5. It is the 'why' that destroys our faith.
6. If we just understood, we could deal with whatever circumstances might come our way.
But there's another question, maybe even more troubling than the "why" question.
B. It is the 'where' question; "Where is God" while all this terrible stuff is happening? Why doesn't He do something?
1. For Job, the greatest disappointment was not the sickness, death and catastrophic loss.
2. It was his inability to answer the "where" question.
3. Look at what he said to one of his friends ... Job 23:3-4
4. Perhaps the hardest thing for us to deal with is knowing:
a. That God could deliver…
b. He could heal…
c. He could change the circumstances…
d. But why won't He do it?
5. This is where the enemy comes and whispers, 'He is not there! You are all alone, and God doesn't care!'
6. Have you ever felt like that?
7. So, what do we do when we come face to face with them these questions?
II. We Need Something to Believe In
We need to focus on what we do know about God as opposed to what we don't know or understand.
A. First of all, God loves you.
1. To those of you who have been over-whelmed by the "why" and "where" questions…know that God's heart is especially tender towards you.
2. He knows your name.
3. He has seen every tear you have cried.
4. Every time life took a wrong turn, He was there.
(Psa 34:18) "The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit."
5. Do you know why He's close to the brokenhearted?
6. Because He's been there, too!
"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief…" Is. 53:3a
7. As he hung on the cross, Jesus cried out, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
8. Anytime we are tempted to doubt God's love for us, we need to go back to the cross.
9. If God loved me enough to give His Son to die for me when I was His enemy, surely He cannot fail to love me in my times of adversity.
B. But not only does God love you, God, despite all appearances, is in control.
(Eccl 7:14) "In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: God also hath set the one over against the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him."
1. That is the sovereignty of God.
2. This doesn't mean that God actually causes terrible things to happen to us, but…
3. He does allow them to come into our lives, but He is always in control.
4. Nothing happens to you or me unless God allows it.
5. God actually has an ultimate purpose for all that He allows in our lives.
(Rom 8:28) "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
C. God desires to deepen the faith of His followers.
1. Faith, according to the Bible ... is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Cf. Heb 11:1
2. If we see - if we have all the answers - we don't need faith.
3. In fact, the more answers we have, the less faith we need.
4. And that's not good because, as that scripture goes on to say, "…without faith it is impossible to please Him". Cf Heb. 11:6
5. God wants to deepen our faith and sometimes He uses pain to bring that about.
a. God does not delight in bringing us pain and heartache.
b. He always has a purpose for the grief He allows into our lives.
c. Most often, we do not know what that purpose is, but it is enough to know that God never wastes pain.
d. He always uses it to accomplish his purpose.
So, God loves you; God is in control; and God want's to deepen the faith of his followers.
D. But the most difficult one is this: God does not owe us answers.
1. "Why did this happen?" we ask. "Where was God?" we complain.
2. We must never forget that He, after all, is God.
3. He is accountable to no one.
4. He is not a genie who pops out of the bottle to satisfy our whims.
5. He is not our servant - we are His.
6. Sometimes He performs mighty miracles on our behalf.
7. Sometimes He chooses to explain His action in our lives.
8. But at other times when nothing makes sense - He simply says, 'I am God, Trust Me!'
III. Dealing With Disappointment
But, you know, even if God did give us answers, I'm not sure it would make any difference because God says ...
(Isa 55:9) "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
A. That's why when it comes to dealing with disappointment, the first thing we need to do is to recognize that our ability to understand is limited.
1. We just don't have the mental and spiritual capacity to comprehend the meaning of all the circumstances of our lives.
2. There is comfort in that because we are relieved from the responsibility of trying to figure them out.
3. Now, I'm not saying that it's wrong to ask God the "why?" question.
4. He may choose to answer us, and if so, then great. But if not…
B. We need to decide to obey God in spite of circumstances.
(Deu 29:29) "The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law."
1. We don't know what God's sovereign will is.
2. We do not know how He will arrange the circumstances of our future.
3. It may be favorable or unfavorable from our viewpoint.
4. That's in the area of the "secrets" that are not revealed to us.
5. We do know that He will work to accomplish His purpose and that…
6. His purpose is ultimately for our good…so our duty then, is to obey the words that he has revealed.
7. To many of us who are struggling today, we need to shift our focus from that which God has not revealed to that which God has already revealed ... and obey it.
Here's the bottom line ...
(Prov 3:5) "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."
(Job 13:15) "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him."
It's our decision. We can choose to trust or we can struggle with the disappointments and allow ourselves to grow bitter toward God.
What about it? Are we going to trust the God who loves us, who's in control, who wants to deepen our faith - or are we going to live a life filled with disappointment over questions that we can't answer? Life is made up of many choices. What choices will you make today?
(Josh 24:15) "…Choose you this day whom ye will serve … but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
If you have never placed your faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on Calvary and accepted Him as Savior and Lord, why not come and make that choice today?
Whatever the need, will you come?