Disappointed? You didn’t want much. Just a healthy child, a good test result, the promotion, a husband, to make the team, a nice home, to bowl a 300 one time, to have friend, to hit a homerun, to be thin, to win the competition, acceptance into the club, a fun vacation, a mind at peace, to pass the course , a small raise, a day without pain, etc. No, you didn’t want much, but God still didn’t come through.
So, why are YOU disappointed? Do you blame God? Well, one thing for sure:
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
IN FACT, DISAPPOINTMENT IS UNIVERSAL AND AS OLD AS TIME!
LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT A COUPLE OF BIBLICAL WOMEN WHO WERE DISAPPOINTED.
(1 Samuel 18: 20-29 & 19: 11-17)
Her father was king and she married David. Yes, good looking, Goliath slayer, military hero, songwriter, and future king. Not only the most eligible bachelor, Michal loved David. A grand life ahead – or so she thought!
However, there was one itsy bitsy problem. Michal’s father wants her husband dead. So, risking the wrath of paranoid King Saul, she helps David escape.
Did her daring garner appreciation? It would seem not. You see David hid from Saul in the wilderness with his band of warriors for many years, but during this time, there is no record of David trying to get Michal back.
Undoubtedly, Michal convinced herself that David couldn’t protect her in his current living conditions. Her safety was at the heart of this desertion. That is until she heard about the marriages to Ahinoam and Abigail. Think Michal was disappointed?
Life is chaotic. Saul continues his quest to kill David, fights battles, and marries Michal off to another man! After a humiliating defeat, Saul takes his own life. Do you think Michal thought this was how life would turn out?
Israel is in flux and divided loyalties result in David ruling Judah (southern Israel) while Ishbosheth (Saul’s son) is proclaimed the king of northern Israel.
David orders Ishbosheth to return Michal to him. Not because he loves her but because he owned her. After all, he told Ishbosheth, I paid for her with the lives of 100 Philistines. (2 Samuel 3:14) Of course, being married to the daughter of the previous king strengthens his claim to the throne over a future united Israel.
Surely Michal was disappointed in her marriage. With such a glorious beginning, how did things go so wrong?
Tears flowing down her cheeks surely she whispers: God, all I wanted was David to love me as I loved him!
MICHAL WAS BITTER
(2 Samuel 3:12-18 & 6: 11-23)
Admittedly, I have compassion for Michal. A political pawn for Saul and David. However, her response to disappointment was not guided by God. You see, there is evidence that her belief in the God of Abraham was weak. When she helped David escape early in their marriage she used idols as a decoy.
Hence, Michal didn’t share the joy regarding the return of the Ark of the Covenant. So, when servant girls hung on half naked David as he danced before the Lord, she reacted with jealousy and disgust. Confronting David’s display in a very disrespectful manner, David’s anger ignited and the Bible simply says she never had children. Did the relationship end that day or was it a punishment from God? The Bible doesn’t expound.
However, her response didn’t help her circumstances, but probably increased her disappointment in life.
(Luke 2: 36-37a)
Then there is Anna. Like Michal circumstances beyond Anna’s control brought unplanned changes.
As a new bride, she probably pictured her husband adoring her, taking care of her needs, and providing her wants. Assuredly, she imagined holding a baby in her arms (in biblical times probably a son) with her husband looking on in thanksgiving and admiration.
There is no mention of children after seven years of marriage. Certainly every monthly cycle brought disappointment. Then the unthinkable happened, her husband dies. Unexpected or a long and difficult illness? A question not answered in the Bible. Disappointed for sure as she faced a bleak and vulnerable future.
Can’t you hear her say: God, all I wanted was a family.
HOWEVER, ANNA WAS HOPEFUL
(Luke 2: 37b-38)
Did Anna shake her fist at God? Perhaps, we don’t know. However, when we first meet her she is at the Temple and her title is Prophetess.
Because she stayed at the Temple night and day, Anna is there when Mary and Joseph bring Jesus for the purification service. Obviously, special insight from the Holy Spirit opened her eyes to the Messiah and Anna sees her Redeemer! Immediately, she praised God and proclaimed the wonderful news to others awaiting their Redeemer.
Amos 3:7 says: “Before the Lord God does anything, He tells His plans to His servants the prophets” (NCV). Anna was the first prophet to proclaim Jesus as Christ.
God often used women to be the first in Jesus’ life:
- Mary (Jesus’ mother) was first to be told the news of Jesus’ coming. (Luke 1: 26-35)
- The Samaritan woman was the first person Jesus told directly that He was the Messiah, Prior to this conversation he spoke in veiled terms – even with Nicodemus. (John 3: 1-21 & 4: 5-26)
- Mary Magdalene was first to see Jesus post resurrection. (John 20: 10-18)
Blessed because of her hope and faith, Anna got to be a first in Jesus’ life and was privileged to behold His glory. Surely, she died in peace knowing redemption had arrived for her and her people.
SO, HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND TO DISAPPOINTMENT?
Well, we certainly don’t want to end like Michal. While we have sympathy for what she went through, bitterness is never the answer. She was back in a palace with a man that she once loved. Following her husband’s example, she could have shared in the festive and jubilant celebration.
Anna had a hard life too and probably one without the financial means of Michal. Yet her faith sustained her and surely increased as she spent all her time in prayer, fasting, and worship. This gave her an eternal perspective recognizing that our earthly disappointments are transitory.
These two quotes sum up the difference between Anna and Michal:
1. “When you release expectations, you are free to enjoy things for what they are instead of what you think they should be.”
Anna released her expectations and allowed God to set her future. However, Michal maintained her expectations. Therefore, bitterness and anger ensued.
2 “No soul can be really at rest until it has given up all dependence on everything else and has been forced to depend on the Lord alone. As long as our expectation is from other things, nothing but disappointment awaits us.” Hannah Whitall Smith *
Anna lost everything and depended on God for everything. However, Michal didn’t seek or depend on God, instead she handled her problems herself, by lashing out and trying to take control. Sound familiar?
You can also check out these verses for some encouragement when disappointed.
Tell us about a time you were disappointed. Did you respond more like Anna or Michal? Anyone have a story about God’s care during a time of disappointment? Encourage others by commenting below!
Also, I did an Easter post at the end of last month: Rejection! Respond Like Jesus. For some additional encouragement during this Easter season check out: Joy At Easter: Where is it?
- Hannah Whitehall Smith was born into a Quaker family and was an evangelist during the holiness movement. Unfortunately, she strayed from her roots and became a universalist. She wrote a spiritual autobiography: The Unselfishness of God And How I Discovered It, in 1903 and The God of all Comfort in 1906. Despite her controversial stands, I thought the quote fit the bill regarding disappointment and the Christian.