Excerpt from the blog of Pastor Mark Shaw, Calvary Baptist Church, Greenville, Michigan.
I have mentioned Philip Yancey’s book, Disappointment with God a number of times. I have read it or portions of it on several occasions over the years. I also read a reaction to the book a few years ago and the writer was incredulous that someone could possibly be disappointed with God! I felt convicted because I confess I have been disappointed with God.
Sometimes it was because it felt like He didn’t keep His end of a promise.
Sometimes I just felt like He must have been looking the other way when something bad happened.
I am learning to trust Him more and I think in recent years I have been disappointed with Him less as a result.
Another lesson I am learning may be even more important—I am reading the Calvary Baptist Ladies Book Club book titled Sensible Shoes. I read a portion that has transformed my thinking and renewed my mind; a spiritual director in the story reminds a hurting woman that “God cannot be disappointed.”
I have believed for years that my teen years were a “real disappointment” to Him. I have lived under a shadow of despair in pastoral life quite often because a failure or sin of mine “surely disappointed God.” I feel like my inability to figure things out or fix problems must be “quite a disappointment.”
Disappointment is the result of a failure to perform up to perceived expectations. I have been disappointed in God because He didn’t live up to my perceived expectations. I have been disappointed with other people for the same reason. But, here is the simple thought that transformed my thinking this week, God already knows what I am and what He was getting, and He saved me and called me anyway!
God commends His love toward us in this, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. That’s grace! That’s unmerited favor. That’s liberating. Because of Jesus’ perfect obedience I can rest in the smile of the Holy One. I am not saying that I can sin so that grace can abound. I am saying that the work of Christ and my union with Him by faith means that God cannot be disappointed with those who are His. That is grace; truly unmerited favor means that my performance has nothing to do whether He is happy or not.
That may seem too simple to make your heart beat but it sure blessed this child. Now, to live in light of His joy this week is my goal because grace is truly amazing.
Pastor Shaw regularly ministers to, and prays daily for, the staff of LIFE International. He volunteered with LIFE International in Guyana in 2013, and in South Africa in 2014 with his wife, Diane.