Disappointment– we’ve all experienced it. Some anticipated trip cancelled; some eagerly longed-for visit from a friend or relative stymied; some relationship failed. It is no pleasant thing to have our expectations and desires unmet. This is particularly true if it is due to the lack of cooperation, interest or concern of another individual. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines disappointment this way:” Defeat or failure of expectation, hope, wish, desire or intention; miscarriage of design or plan.” I would like to explore this with you in regards to the disappointment of God.
We established the fact in previous posts that Jesus became flesh and blood like we are (Hebrews 2:14, 16), and that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Bearing in mind these two things, along with the fact that Jesus ascended into Heaven, still in His human form (Acts 1:11), let’s consider together the current experience of Jesus. We have established the reality of the delay of His return and our responsibility. He COULD HAVE been here by now. But we have grieved Him by our refusal to cooperate with His present work in our behalf. We will investigate this even more fully as we move on in. We know that we can, in our expectations and plans, be delayed. And we can be grieved and disappointed on account of the lack of cooperation or interest of others. Therefore, it stands to reason, since we are made in His image, in His likeness (Genesis 1:26), that Jesus can also be disappointed. We may not find the word, “disappointment”, or “disappointed” in the Bible in reference to God or to Jesus, but we can find the experience. Referring to our definition above, “failure of expectation, hope, wish, desire or intention,” we can easily see the concept of disappointment as it relates to God and His Son.
Surely, even from Eden, God never intended sin to be an issue in His perfect creation! As He created, at each step, He said, “It was good,” and “It was very good” (Genesis 1). But listen to the heart cry of the Creator as, for the first time, His crowning act of creative genius had turned from Him: “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, ‘Where are you?’” (Genesis 3:9). Can’t you just hear the grief and disappointment here in the voice of God? He came to visit and talk with the man He had created in His image, and with whom He had enjoyed sweet fellowship day by day. But this time, He found that man hiding from Him in fear. I can almost see in my mind the countenance of the Heavenly Father fall in disappointment and sadness. I can almost FEEL His disappointment!
In Deuteronomy 5:29 we see the disappointment has deepened as God exclaims to Moses His wish and desire that His children really would cooperate with Him. “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear Me, and keep all My commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever!” Can you hear, as I do, the desire of God that His people really would cooperate with Him? Yet, He knows that without His strength within them, such is impossible. We will cover this thought more fully in the future, but for now let’s keep our minds on the disappointment of God in His people on account of their lack of cooperation with and faith in Him.
Consider this passage in Psalm 81: 8-16 “Hear, O My people, and I will testify unto you: O Israel, if you will hearken unto Me; There shall no strange god be in you; neither shall you worship any strange god. I [Am] the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt: open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. But My people would not listen to My voice; and Israel would (have) none of Me. So I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lust: [and] they walked in their own counsels. Oh that My people had hearkened unto Me, [and] Israel had walked in My ways! I should soon have subdued their enemies, and turned My hand against their adversaries. The haters of the LORD should have submitted themselves unto Him: but their time should have endured forever. He would have fed them also with the finest of the wheat: and with honey out of the rock should I have satisfied you.”
This touching passage is a revelation of the heart of our Creator and Redeemer. He longed to bring the children of Israel into the land He had promised them, but the people would not cooperate, and, as it says in Psalm 78:41, “…they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.” The Lord simply ached to bring His people into a place and experience of victory, but their lack of cooperation caused God to experience a “failure of expectation, hope, wish, desire or intention…” Indeed, God was disappointed! We may know that whatever God has promised us today but is unable to fulfill because of a lack of cooperation and faith on our parts, brings to Him the experience of disappointment all over again.
God has promised many things to you and me today. He promises a life of victory. He says in Romans 6:14. “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. “ We will discuss the powerful promises of this chapter in greater detail in a later post, but this one passage is explosive in its implications! When we walk with our Creator as He longs for us to walk, He will keep us from falling. In fact, look with me at Jude 24, where He comes right out and says what He wants to do for us! “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy!” Is this your experience? Mine? If it isn’t, then I dare say that we are disappointing God just as surely as did Adam and Eve, and the children of Israel. Whatever God promises us, He is able to perform. If we don’t allow Him to perform it in our lives, He is disappointed, He is grieved, and His purposes are delayed. He needs closure. He needs the fulfillment of His “expectation, hope, wish, desire or intention… design or plan”. Our cooperation is vital!
In closing, consider this powerful passage from the pen of one who loved Jesus intensely. As she pondered the failure of those around her to move forward in Christian growth and activity, she said, “At times it has seemed that my heart would break, and I could only pray, while giving vent to my anguish in weeping aloud. Oh, I felt so sorry for my Saviour! His searching for fruit amid the leaf-covered branches of the fig tree and His disappointment in ‘finding nothing but leaves’ seemed so vivid before my eyes. I felt that I could not have it so. I could in no way be reconciled to the past years of neglect of duty on the part of ministers and people.” (Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, page 527, E.G. White) Surely, this individual did certainly “look upon Him Whom we have pierced and mourn…” (Zechariah 12:10) God help us to do likewise!
Click here for a song taken from Zechariah 12:10-14 that is pertinent to this study: 01 Track 1
In our next post we will explore a very unique concept: the exile of God! Until then, blessings to everyone.