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Posts Tagged ‘disappointment with God’

Recently, our eight-year-old granddaughter came up with a most intriguing Christmas wish list that boggled my mind:

Go Go Flamingo (an expensive toy)

Robux gift card (Max: $50)

Cloud Puddy (she means ‘putty’!)

Ipad with Apple pen

Pet hamster

Magic Mixies (another expensive toy)

Bunch of Reese’s chocolates from Nanna and Granddad!

New TV in my room

Five-dollar allowance monthly (optional)

Drivers’ licence, car and keys

Makeup desk with chair and wall mirror

Snuggles Dream Puppy (yet another expensive toy)

Hmm. Nothing like a list that ranges from special playdough and a few chocolates to a drivers’ licence and car—oh and the car keys would help too! Although Maxine has been quite reasonable, I suppose, with her request for a five-dollar allowance each month—especially since she has stated it is optional! I strongly suspect, however, that Maxine may be heading for disappointment as far as this list is concerned, except perhaps for one or two of the cheaper items included. And I know her parents would not welcome a hamster into the household!

I laughed at my granddaughter’s wonderful list when I first saw it. But as I have thought about it since, I have realised I have often made up equally weird lists over the years when it comes to asking God for things. In my late teens, I used to pray I could become a famous opera singer one day! Instead of heading to the Conservatorium, however, I ended up studying languages at university. Now, I think God honestly preserved me from making a big mistake back then.

Much later, I remember praying our children would turn out to be geniuses and always top their classes at school. In the end, God had to show me my prayers were really driven by my own desire to achieve academically, rather than our children’s own desires and interests. I was pushing my agenda onto them—and I was hoping God would step into line and make it all happen.

Of course, we can—and should—bring all sorts of requests to God, as the Apostle Paul urges us to:

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Ephesians 6:18

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Yet, sometimes, like a petulant child, I can demand things from God, then become upset and disappointed when I don’t receive them. How much better would it be if I took time to try to listen and hear God’s heart on these matters, even as I pray? And how much better it would be too if I accepted it when God, who is all-loving, all-knowing and all-wise, says no or perhaps ‘wait a while’?

I hope Maxine won’t be too disappointed when she doesn’t receive that car for Christmas—I suspect she was only kidding with that request anyway! I am sure she will be happy, whatever gifts she receives. And I am sure she will still love her parents and will know they love her so much too. As for me and those prayer requests of mine—and yours, I hope we can all continue to love and trust God, whatever the outcome, because God will never give up on loving us.

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Life can be a puzzle at times, don’t you think? Such a confusing mixture of celebrations, disappointments, happiness, sadness, outstanding successes and downright disasters.

This past week, I heard from four different friends, all facing huge issues in caring for their children. These range from life-threatening physical illness to equally life-threatening mental illness and personality disorder to rearing children with developmental disabilities to discovering your children have been abused by a paedophile. My heart goes out to each one. They are all amazing heroes and heroines, trying to keep their heads above water in the midst of such anguish, exhaustion and frustration.

Each one has a faith in God they are trying to cling to, despite everything. Their faith may be very weak and wavering right now, but it is there still—that longing to know God hasn’t deserted them, that somehow, some day, they will be able to make sense of it all or at least see things from a different perspective. I grieve with them and understand their wondering where God is, as they watch their children suffer. Anything I say sounds trite, so I merely listen and pray and try to do what I can to help.

Then in the midst of this, I attend a friend’s party to mark a special milestone birthday. It is wonderful to catch up with several who have been a rich part of my own life, to laugh and rejoice together at the way God has led us and to be so thankful for the blessings we have received. On top of this, I myself receive news that a book of mine has reached the finals of a Christian writers’ award. I am so grateful to God—yet how can I rejoice at this small success in the light of the hugely difficult issues my friends are facing? How can I wrap my brain around it all?

I open my bible and find I am up to Isaiah 40. Certain phrases jump out at me: ‘Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. … All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. … The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever. … He tends his flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. … “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One. Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these?’ Then comes the clincher:

Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”?

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. … Is 40:28-29

What can I say then? Our Almighty God will always be exactly that. We may never understand why God does not intervene in these terrible situations, yet we are not forgotten and our pain is not ignored. The cross makes that very clear.

God has reached out and shared our pain. This I know for sure. And God still reaches out, strengthening us to hold fast, however difficult the journey.

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