We have all experienced it. Maybe it was when you were little and Grandpa promised you an ice cream cone, and then you were crushed when no ice cream cone came. Maybe it was in middle school when you experienced your first crush, and your beloved didn’t return your affection. It may have even happened for you as you were on your way to college, and the school you thought you had all sewn up turned you down.
It is an unfortunate reality of life. People can let us down. We can get disappointed. Sometimes, it is thoughtlessness that leads to such failure. At other times, such let downs are out of our control. No one intends to hurt us, but it still happens. Yet, there are sometimes when someone else’s actions hurt us. They do something that is just plain mean. It doesn’t matter if it is thoughtless, willfull, or intentional. It hurts, and we don’t know what to do next. We are angry, we are in pain, and we are confused.
We like words of wisdom. We go to church to hear those words that inform us of how to live healthy, abundant lives. We go to conferences for the same reason. We listen to encouraging speakers. We applaud their declarations. We laugh at their stories. We weep at the heart warming anecdotes. Yet, it is easy to forget that, for those who are speaking, those stories came at a price. They lived it. The call of faith when disappointment comes will be a great story tomorrow. Today it hurts and we have to live it. How can we live with it God’s way? What does walking by faith look like when people or circumstances disappoint us?
Hosea knows what it is like to have someone let you down in a way that hurts. The prophet Hosea was a man who had the very traditional call to lead God’s people back to Him. Hosea’s greatest struggle is not with the even the people of Israel. Hosea’s struggle is with the members of his own family. Hosea’s struggle is with the woman God gave him for life. His struggle is with his wife and her faithfulness (or lack thereof). In fact, God’s call is both a calling and a warning for Hosea. God says, “Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry.” (Hosea 1:2) Can you imagine? If it were me, I would be asking, “Can’t I go naked or pretend I am a city under siege like Isaiah or Ezekiel?” I cannot even fathom what kind of man I would have to be to receive Hosea’s call.
Hosea is told that he is not the only one who knows what it is like to be disappointed. God too knows what is like to be disappointed. Look back at what God says to Hosea in 3:1, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.” What does God say there about His people? He declares the disappointment of His heart. He declares that He loves the sons of Israel, yet they do not love Him back. It is the same disappointment that Jesus declares when He says, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it!” (Luke 13:34) Do you hear the heart of our God? Do you hear His disappointment? Do you hear His pain? He longs for people to love Him, Yet, we know from experience and the Scripture that we, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Have you ever contemplated the fact that God too, knows what it is to be disappointed? God knows what it is like to want things to be different than they are.
So, when we feel disappointed, let us start with remembering that God knows what it is like to be disappointed. He knows what it feels like to wish things were different – to want to make them different. We are not alone. We are never alone. God walks this road with us.
Something to think about,
Next time… Do we just survive disappointment? Or does faith invite us to thrive over it?