We have all experienced it. Maybe it was when you were little and Grandpa promised you an ice cream cone, and then you were disappointed 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. We have all experienced disappointment. It is an unfortunate reality of life. It doesn’t matter if we are let down by circumstance, someone’s thoughtlessness, or an intentional act. It hurts, and we don’t know what to do next. We are angry, we are in pain, and we are confused. We are disappointed!
When I think about disappointment I think about Hosea. Hosea knew 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. That’s pretty normal for a prophet. It’s hard work, but a prophet knows that he is called by God for that work. Hosea’s greatest struggle was not with the people of Israel. Hosea’s struggle was with the members of his own family. Hosea’s struggle was with the woman God gave him for life. His struggle was with his wife and her faithfulness (or lack thereof). In fact, God’s call to Hosea was 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 around preaching half-naked or lay down on the ground and 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.
Have you ever gone to a special church service where someone shared their testimony? Or have you gone to a conference where the speaker shared personal stories to illustrate something from God’s Word? We laugh with their stories. We weep at their heartwarming anecdotes. In those moments it is easy to forget that, for those who are speaking, those stories came at a price. They lived it. Their call of faith happened in the midst of pain or disappointment. It is a great story today, but then it hurt and they had to live through it. How they lived through it speaks to us, doesn’t it? We will look at that more in our next post, but this week let’s find comfort in an oft overlooked part of Hosea’s story – why God asked him to live it!
Hosea’s story is fascinating and it touches our hearts, but as we put ourselves in his place I am sure that we would not have enjoyed being him. Yet, he was told that his experience looked a lot like God’s experience. Have you thought about that? God, too, knows what it 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 children 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, “like sheep have gone astray, each to his own way.” 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? How does faith empower us to thrive over it?