Title: It’s Okay To Feel Disappointed
Artwork by: YMI X @themilkyway_tansuen
Description: How many times have we asked, “Why, God? Why?”
Oftentimes, a deeper question lies at the root of our “whys”: we feel pained by what is happening, we know God is all-powerful, and so we don’t understand why God allowed it, why He doesn’t make things better. Why is this happening? Does God not care?
Is it okay to feel disappointed? Absolutely. Can we live with it and still trust God? Yes.
We’re not alone in this. Here are five people in the Bible who expressed their disappointments to God, and still continued to live the life of faith.
For Abraham, it was a very specific set of promises: offspring and land that, combined, will make a great nation.
Though he didn’t live to see the land nor the offspring as numerous as stars, Abraham “believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (Gen 15:6).
When you become doubtful and discouraged, don’t just stop there; go back to God and listen to what He has to say.
Have you been experiencing pain for a long time?
Although Job was considered blameless and upright in God’s eyes (Job 1:8), he was not spared from immense suffering. Even as Job grieved and poured out his sorrow, he spoke only the truth about God (42:7), and knew to accept both good and trouble from Him (2:10).
When God finally revealed Himself, Job responded in faith and humility, acknowledging God’s greatness and his own need for repentance (42:1-6).
When faced with trials and suffering, cry out to God. Know that He is in control, and is working steadily to make us perfect in Christ.
Are you in a period of troubled waiting, not knowing when God will work out His plans for you?
David knew that God had anointed him as the next king, but it seemed impossible when he had to run for his life, even fleeing to an enemy camp at one point (1 Sam 27).
In Psalm 13, David repeatedly asked God, “How long?”, and he unloaded all the anguish in his heart. Yet, the psalm concludes with him going back to God’s unfailing love, His salvation, and His goodness.
Whenever you feel surrounded by threats and swallowed up by fear, remember that God loves and He saves.
Have you gone through what you thought was a win, only to be blindsided by a poor outcome?
After surviving three years of drought, then witnessing the triumph at Mount Carmel, Elijah probably thought that he would finally be vindicated. But instead, he had to go into hiding (again!) to stay alive. What despair he must’ve felt, to have asked God to take his life (1 Kings 19:4).
But God took care of Elijah’s physical needs, listened to his woes, and revealed His presence (19:5-14). And after Elijah was restored, he went on to do what God had instructed.
When you feel weary and worn out, know that God is still there, waiting to listen and provide.
Have you prayed for something, only to get the opposite of what you’d asked?
When Jesus came days after her brother Lazarus had died, Martha went to Him to express her disappointment—”if you had been here, he would not have died” (11:21). Yet, in that moment, she managed to keep her faith as well—”But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask” (11:22).
Even as Martha mourned her brother’s death, not knowing what Jesus had in store, she knew that Jesus loved them (11:3), that He had the power to do anything according to God’s will, and that his brother will rise again on the final day.
When your prayer yields a no, trust in God’s power and plan and find rest, knowing that He has saved us for good.
From these characters’ lives and more, we see how they respond to disappointment with faith and obedience. We learn that we can bring our sorrows to God, and He hears our cries and has compassion (James 5:11). And in our grief, we can still respond in faith by looking to God’s character, remembering His love and His promises for us who believe (Rom 8:37-39).