Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Over the past several weeks I have been on a spiritual journey to not only understand the true meaning of "disappointment," but to also learn how to manage disappointment when it happens to come my way. While it can take many forms, my own personal pilgramage has helped me to cope with self-disappointment, disappointment with others as well as disappointment with God. I have been reading and studying the book, Disappointment With God, by Philip Yancey. I would highly recommend it if you have ever felt like God is or has been unfair, silent or hidden.
This brief reflection is not an attempt to summarize the book nor Yancey's own process of self-discovery concerning disappointment. I only want to take a moment to formulate a few ideas which have helped me move forward in the face of disappointment. I would like to challenge you to join me in this journey that many have traveled. C.S. Lewis walked this path too in his book, The Problem of Pain. Here are few insights I continue to process:
1. Man's disppointments are better understood if we look at disappointment from God's perspective. The entire Biblical witness reveals how God has constantly dealt with mankind's failure. His love and faithfulness "in spite of" give us a worthy example to follow.
2. A common mistake is to believe life should be fair, because God is fair. However, God is not life. The two are distinct. Life is unfair; God is fair. Our definitions and our expectations are in error.
3. Perhaps God is constantly speaking. We are just incapable of understanding all that he seeks to communicate. Or perhaps a full understanding of God knows would be harmful to us. It is the difference between flesh and spirit; the difference between living in a 3 dimensional world and existing in a reality without dimensions. This is best seen in God's reply to Job in the last chapters of this mysterious book. He doesn't answer his questions. God recounts his greatness and awesomeness as Creator and Lord of the universe.
4. Faith and fidelity are not the same. Faith is trust and confidence that God will intervene. Fidelity is that "hang-on-at-any-cost" faith that continues to believe even when the expected miracle does not come. Fidelity is necessary when we reach the final moments of our life on the earth. It is the type of "faith" that carries us into eternity.