Saturday, November 6, 2010

The God of Disappointment

I hear it a lot.

There are many versions of "the church turned on me" when I went through _________.

Or, "I lost my faith when this Christian or that Christian betrayed me."

Or, "Christians are hypocrites, so why would I want to believe in their God!"

These are the challenges that face me lately. How do I explain that there are two heartbeats inside of me? Mine...and....HIS. How do I prove that? I cannot. I just cannot. Is it enough that I'm not who I was? Maybe it is for anyone who knew me then, but what about those who only know me now? How can they see the resemblance of His good if all they are looking for is my sin?

Matthew 10:21-22 speaks a hard truth of those who love and revere the Lord God Almighty in the name of Jesus, the Lamb of God. It's hard and it is real.

Jesus spoke these words:
"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."
He may as well have said, your family isn't going to agree with you just because they are family. Your children may choose a different belief. Those friends of yours on facebook, some of them want to vomit every time you type my name. Some of your blog readers think you are a blubbering idiot. Your neighbors think you are over the top and your co-workers find you annoying, just because you love me. Secretely and overtly you are hated by some and will continue to be hated. They will hate you because they oppose me and they are not comfortable with your love for me. They deny me and they will take that out on you. But stand up strong my child because my love covers you. I have given you my hope, my comfort and my counselor. Stand up and don't be afraid to be hated. Yeah, He might as well have just come out and said that.

It is a challenge for certain to walk into an invitation for hate. The challenge isn't in processing the feeling, and not even in showing love anyway. The challenge is to understand and accept that this is the way that it is and the way it will always be. The challenge is in wanting to fix it. I want to help people "get" that the god of disappointment is nothing more than man. We are the gods of disappointment. We are the gods of betrayal. We are the gods of let down. We are the gods of hypocrisy. We are the gods of lies and deceit.

People who do not believe in the mighty name of Jesus will watch us like hawks to catch us in our stumbling. They believe that when we fail, God has failed. If they bother to give Him a name at all, they will only utter it in tones of disappointment. When we get called out, He gets called out. And we WILL get called out, you can pretty much bet on that. True or false, perception is everything.

Recently I attended an awards ceremony at my childrens' school. Sitting in front of me was a mom and a little sister of some child in that packed room. The little girl was probably 3 and she was displaying some annoying behaviors. In a flash of wisdom I pegged her mom as being aloof, as she probably displays similar behaviors in her adult life and doesn't even realize that they are bad. You know, as in the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Then I recalled several days ago at the ballfield when one of my very own children acted in a way I didn't teach, I didn't model, and I do not condone. In that case, that apple had fallen off a completely different tree. Right? I'm reminded that not even in the power of my own intentional influence, can I ensure that my children will behave appropriately. This is never more frustrating than when your child is throwing a public tempor tantrum over something that doesn't even make sense. There are no telling how many other moms and dads jumped to the conclusion that the stem of my little apple was still clinging to my branch.

We are just like this with our Father. Sometimes we act out because of stresses and pressures that we fail to keep in check with the Spirit. Sometimes we lose our ever loving minds kicking and screaming until we can finally regain composure. What others don't often see are our closed door repenting, the lessons learned, and the grace. So, instead of marveling at God's mercy and grace, they marvel at this:

  • my tantrum = God's tantrum
  • my lie = God's lie
  • my deceit = God's deceit
  • my judgement = God's judgement
  • my unforgiveness = God's unforgiveness
  • my greed = God's greed
  • my failures = God's failure
God begins to look like the god of disappointment. People HATE to be disappointed. People will deny God because we dissapoint them. People will spend eternity apart from God and apart from us because some human proclaiming Christ will let them down. They will believe that He respresents us in our "bad" rather than we represent Him in our "good". One bad apple spoils the entire bushel. There are some really rotten apples out there, and so to some, it makes us all stink. And really, who doesn't hate a rotten apple?

I have no idea where this blog post is coming from. I'm not experiencing "hate" that I know of. I'm just more and more aware of how a relationship with God through Christ requires commitment for spiritual transformation. There are imposters because there is evil in this world. The bible says that Satan is the prince of this world and it is evident that he has some power. And he will continue to until his head gets squashed. I know that I cannot save anyone. Only God can do that. But the devil has created imposters all over this earth who damage the credibility of Christ. This is no shock to the God of the universe. He knows what's up. And He knows that you and me, those of us who sincerely love Him, He knows that we are trying to shine light in the darkest of places and He knows this is no easy task. The lights we shine, the love we share and the hope we spread is not wasted. It is never wasted. It is never for naught. It has a purpose all day every day. Let us not give up. We don't have to see the fruit here...we hope to but we may not. Let us just not give up. He didn't. In Him there is no disappointment.


Yvette A. said...

This is so true!

I have run across so many people who have been turned away from God, because people who claimed to be Christians hurt or abused them.

As Christians, we must remember to be "Christ-like" (to the best of our ability, anyway), because we are representing Christ to the rest of the world. Right or wrong, people will judge both God & the Church by what they see reflected in our lives.

Sarah said...

This post really hit home with me, Melissa. In more than one way. In my current Bible study on the book of John, I just read Jesus's promise that if he was hated and persecuted, so will we be. But I wondered why I don't feel hated? Sometimes I feel lonely, surrounded by people who don't believe in or love God. But I don't feel hated. If they hate me, they're very polite about it.

I think I'm living much too safe a life, wanting everyone to like me. Then again, I think of the people I know who are most like Jesus--who love like him--and I remember people gravitating to them, believers and nonbelievers alike. I don't know. I just know I want to value God's approval and not men's.

The other thing that really spoke to me was when you said people see our failures, but not our repentance behind closed doors. I never really thought about other people repenting the way I do, weeping on my closet floor.

I'm going to try and remember that the next time I'm tempted to focus on another person's sin.

Jim Marr said...

I'm glad I popped over here to read your post after seeing the topic on Without Wax. We (ok I) must daily guard against feeling that life experiences mean the future is not wide open with the God of hope. Despite that some people or events around us may try to bring us (me!) down, I'll NOT give up. I'll keep sharing what God has put in my heart and even if I don't see the fruit here, I know that God would have it no other way.

Thank you for your fresh insight and reminder that "in Him there is no disappointment."