Explore
Follow Us

Disappointed with God

Yesterday was a beautiful day in Georgia. The Superbowl party at the Hyltons was a blast.   Along the way I had the chance to talk to a friend who has had a lot of pain in his life. We talked about why.   There are seasons where not only does God not do what I want him to do, but…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Yesterday was a beautiful day in Georgia. The Superbowl party at the Hyltons was a blast.
 
Along the way I had the chance to talk to a friend who has had a lot of pain in his life. We talked about why.
 
There are seasons where not only does God not do what I want him to do, but what’s worse, he seems to go silent. When you open the Bible, you’re reading words on a page. They do nothing for you.
 
I asked him if he was disappointed with God. He said yes. 
 
“Is God still good?” I asked.
 
“Yes,” he answered.
 
“Is he the same personal God you’ve always known?”
 
“I don’t know.”
“I’ve been there. You look and look and you hear nothing. And sometimes Christians just make it worse. The worst thing people can do when life is like that is to give you platitudes.”
 
You’d think John the Baptist would have had a clear sense of what Jesus was doing. But in jail, about to be executed, all he had was his doubts. And Jesus himself on the cross felt betrayed by God. With that as a track record, what can the rest of us hope for? The kind of pain-free life that some megachurch pastors promise seems Pollyannish.
I know a lot of friends going through this kind of dark, sad season. One of them went through constant cycles of pain, became suicidal, and eventually died in his disappointment. The pain was hard enough to bear, but the silence made it almost impossible. At the end it was all too much – he just wanted to give up the fight.
 
The Super Bowl was a great game – a titanic struggle that seemed in doubt right up until the very end. Kind of like a lot of my friends – disappointed, living in doubt even as they approach their own end.
 
Have you ever experienced the long, dark silence of God? Have you ever been disappointed in him? What do you say to someone going through a season like that?

Comments (14)

  • I haven’t been at that place yet of COMPLETE doubt and disappointment but watching others go through it has prepared me for what may come in my future. No. What WILL come in my future. Every strong believer has to go through some kind of obstacle that stretches their faith to become a broken vessel. Even when grace doesn’t seem like it’s there I want to know ahead of time that others have gone through it before me and they have come out of it. God is still the same even when life has dramatically changed.

  • Natalie, I appreciate the way you worded your last paragraph addressing Philip’s comment. I, too, have come to know another side of God’s love and character through Job and Joseph. God is ALL powerful. When bad things happen-God has to be the one who allows it. It would be a scary life if I believed satan had more power than God. God is sovereign. He can stop it or allow it. That is why TRUST is our only choice.

    I just read this today: “We would never willingly give up our son, but we praise God for the lives changed through his death.” This is a particularly jarring statement at this point in life, considering this anonymous statement echoes the cries of our hearts in the loss of a son, brother, teammate, classmate, friend and student last week.

    In other words, God is the standard of good, not our desires. If God brings it, it is good, indeed it is best, regardless of our feelings toward the situation.

  • Sorry. That last part had 2 sentences missing. REDO

    “We would never willingly give up our son, but we praise God for the lives changed through his death.” This is a particularly jarring statement at this point in life, considering this anonymous statement echoes the cries of our hearts in the loss of a son, brother, teammate, classmate, friend and student last week.

    We can’t understand God’s goodness because we’ve changed good to mean “something that pleases our senses.” But in reality, God and His characteristics are the only things that can define good.

    In other words, God is the standard of good, not our desires. If God brings it, it is good, indeed it is best, regardless of our feelings toward the situation.

  • One of the many lies of satan is that God is some how holding out on us. I love the words of Asaph in Psalm 73:

    “1 Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
    I had nearly lost my foothold. 3 For I envied the arrogant
    when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”

    How often do we look at others and feel lacking in comparison?

    A verse I go to when feeling depressed is Psalm 106:6-7.

    “6 We have sinned, even as our fathers did;
    we have done wrong and acted wickedly.
    7 When our fathers were in Egypt,
    they gave no thought to your miracles;
    they did not remember your many kindnesses,
    and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.”

    When I am “disappointed” with God, it is often tempting to rebel. However, as I remember his kindness, how can I not love and praise him?

    Psalm 136
    1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
    His love endures forever.
    2 Give thanks to the God of gods.
    His love endures forever.
    3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
    His love endures forever.

    4 to him who alone does great wonders,
    His love endures forever.
    5 who by his understanding made the heavens,
    His love endures forever.
    6 who spread out the earth upon the waters,
    His love endures forever.
    7 who made the great lights—
    His love endures forever.
    8 the sun to govern the day,
    His love endures forever.
    9 the moon and stars to govern the night;
    His love endures forever.

    10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
    His love endures forever.
    11 and brought Israel out from among them
    His love endures forever.
    12 with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
    His love endures forever.

    13 to him who divided the Red Sea[a] asunder
    His love endures forever.
    14 and brought Israel through the midst of it,
    His love endures forever.
    15 but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;
    His love endures forever.

    16 to him who led his people through the desert,
    His love endures forever.
    17 who struck down great kings,
    His love endures forever.
    18 and killed mighty kings—
    His love endures forever.
    19 Sihon king of the Amorites
    His love endures forever.
    20 and Og king of Bashan—
    His love endures forever.
    21 and gave their land as an inheritance,
    His love endures forever.
    22 an inheritance to his servant Israel;
    His love endures forever.

    23 to the One who remembered us in our low estate
    His love endures forever.
    24 and freed us from our enemies,
    His love endures forever.
    25 and who gives food to every creature.
    His love endures forever.

    26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.
    His love endures forever.

  • Just went through an 8 month Death but now there Life, thanks Daddy God for writing the new sermon of my life for me. Can’t wait to tag team with you as we share the story.

  • One of my lowest points with God was when my sister’s baby died minutes after being born, full term. This was the second child that had died at birth, and only son. She has 3 beautiful, healthy, grown daughters. We had prayed, and believed without doubting, that God was going to heal those babies. They needed kidneys and could survive in the womb but not out. We prayed for them to be raised from the dead for hours. I was stunned that God did not heal their son. I had to dig into the Word and relearn everything I had been taught and thought. I made the DECISION to TRUST God even when I can not understand Him. I made the DECISION to worship Him even though I didn’t understand Him or think He was worthy. I made the DECISION that I would not keep asking why. TRUST was (and still is) my mantra. I read the book of Job and got some amazing understanding. God’s discourse at the end of that book of the Bible, changed everything for me. I also read a book called, “When God Doesn’t Heal Now”, the suggestion was to continually worship no matter what-I did and I do. HE IS TRUSTWORTHY. Psalm 139:7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?

  • During a LONG seven year trial that is still not over, I have truly seen God’s faithfulness. I never would have thought I’d be so stretched and spiritually exhausted to the point of doubt and wanting to give up. At times I did give up, walking away from fellowship with the Lord because to pray and hope were even more of a challenge at the time.

    Yet, in my weakness, failure, and faithlessness, I got to see firsthand that God is indeed faithful when we are faithless. I love how in Job, Job says that before, he had “heard” of God but NOW he “sees” God—that is the blessing of our sufferings! Fellowshipping with Christ in His sufferings brings increased intimacy and revelation of who Jesus IS instead of just the Jesus we’ve “heard” about.

    He loves us with an “everlasting love” that does not quit even if WE do. I’m not proud of the times my faith was weak and I just wanted a “break” from God but I am so glad to have learned by EXPERIENCE that God is faithful instead of those just being pretty words we spout.

    One of the most encouraging things I read online once as I walked though dark days was (paraphrase): When you’re feeling hopeless and worn out and like giving up, you work on surviving and let us [the body of Christ] pray for you.

    Sometimes we lose heart to pray or do all the “right” spiritual things to persevere through hard times. But it’s in those moments that, like Moses, we’ll need to have the hands of other believers holding our arms up so that we may receive the strength of Christ to keep standing, keep fighting, keep trusting, and keep waiting to see the faithfulness of God manifested. We need God’s strength for all things but there are times when the believer is too weak or disappointed to even try and tap into that strength that our God always offers. And that’s precisely when we need the body to function as it was meant to, giving strength and support to the weaker parts for the glory of God.

    And to address Philip’s comment. Yes, Satan seeks to afflict God’s people with evil and clamity but scripture blatantly shows that God allows those evils to come into our lives for our good and the good of others (Job and Joseph are two examples). I agree we should not blame God but Satan is only allowed the power God permits him to have in our lives. Note he had to ASK the Lord’s permission in the account of Job. We can rest in the truth that God is sovereign [supreme] over ALL and can turn any and all evil around for our good and His glory!!!

  • The main thing God gives me is His love, and I have never been disappointed by His love. But sometimes I form my own definite ideas about what it means to love me, and then I can get disappointed when love doesn’t show up in the form that I had determined that it should. The problem wasn’t that love had become unpredictable; it was that I began looking at that loving relationship through the lens of “if you really loved me, you would…” When those conditions weren’t met, I questioned God’s love.

    And if I feel at some point that God has “gone silent”, as you say, I have learned that it was I who had allowed that communication to become blocked. Whenever I claim power or authority or control, and whenever I compartmentalize some area of my life where I don’t let God in; those choices can cut off my communication with God. A friend sometimes has to challenge me: “if you don’t feel the Lord there with you, who moved?”

    These are just my experiences, offered without judgment. There is a risk here of sounding like one of Job’s friends who would make the mistake of measuring our closeness to God by the rewards and punishments of our lives. As co-heirs with Christ, we know better than that. We rest in the faithful certainty that we are God’s beloved children who simply stray sometimes – as it is the nature of children to do. Doesn’t mean we are not loved. Doesn’t mean we can’t return to Him. He never left.

  • Its always easy to say all this when you still have the strength to even discuss it. Yes, sometimes our bad choices lead us into difficult and painful situations BUT

    WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE ME TO BRING OUT THE LESSON
    IF ITS TOO PAINFUL FOR ME TO GO THROUGH, HOW CAN YOU WATCH ME GO THROUGHT THIS AND NOT MOVE
    WOULDNT IT HAVE BEEN BEST TO GIVE US A CHOICE OF WEATHER OR NOT TO BE PART OF CREATION? THAT WAY, IT REALLY WOULD BE ALL MY FAULT.

    WHY DO I HAVE A CHOICE TO CALL IN TIME-OUT WITH EVERYTHING ELSE BUT NOT LIFE, ITS BECOMES SUICIDE AND AUTOMATICALLY. IM WRONG AGAIN.

    I dont doubt GOD at all. I know HE is there. I just dont get this!

    Wish a car would run me over and get it over and done with.

  • Kay, my heart goes out to you because I know those same gut-wrenching feelings you have expressed and the desire to press the exit button on life. I pray that God gives you the strength to focus on this day alone and to persevere and that you will keep seeking His strength for each subsequent day and let all of the ‘tomorrows’ worry about themselves. (Matt 6:34) For His strength is made perfect in our weakness. (2 Cor 12:9) You are in a prime position to be a recipeint of His strength, dear Kay!!

    I am still in a rough season of life myself. Although it’s not quite as rough as it used to be, there are, however, those moments when those dark clouds roll in and I’m tempted to give my emotions and the enemy all of the power—this morning was ANOTHER one of those moments.

    But as I sat in the backyard, tears streaming down my face for the millionth time and feeling absolutely powerless to change my life and SO tempted to shut God out and get mad at Him, I made a decision. I prayed, “Lord, I choose to believe that you love me, that you care about what’s going on, and that you have a plan for me. I choose to believe you are in control and are here in my suffering. (Job 13:5)

    Kay, I cannot tell you how many years it has taken me to get to this point! But it’s my hope and prayer that you reach that point for yourself much faster than I did! That you are able to–even amidst tears and feelings of despair–trust the Lord and His love for you, that YOU HAVE HOPE and are able to confess those things as true. Because they are true! Praying for you and your peace in Christ Jesus!!! (Phil 4:7) Hold fast to Him!

  • Kay,

    I want to stand in for people who have hurt you and say, “I’m sorry. Sorry for not listening to your cries. Sorry for not moving to action.”

    These people don’t know who you are or else they would treat you differently.

    You are beautiful and brave. Your voice is valuable and worth being heard.

    And yes, you are right – HE is there. He has your back. He is there to catch you and His arms are safe. He highly values your honesty.

    Much love,
    Jacinda

  • Simple answer: Yes and yes.

    Part and parcel of the journey.

    My disappointment with God has often led to frustration and anger.

    At these times I let Him know how I feel, sometimes with tears, sometimes with verbal fists flying.

    2011 was one, long walk in the dark. Last spring, my faith reached a crisis point. I had a true knock-down, drag-out with HIm and actually “left” for 28 days!

    But, His constancy, learned as a child – confirmed often over 66 years – proved true once again…:)

    He never left me.

    I finally came back on Holy Thursday…I wasn’t sure I ever would.

    He was.

    On this journey, we often get disappointed in Him, if we’re real enough to admit it. In varying degrees and for varying periods of time, we may throw in the towel. Some end up turning their backs on Him for years.

    The crazy thing, the really crazy thing is:

    He never gives up on us.

    He always sees who we can and will become and His long-suffering, unconditional love never fails.

    Judith

  • satan is the god of this earth? When man ate of the forbidden fruit we gave satan reign over all of the earth.

    So many times while going through struggles (I have been a victim of this) the first thing we want to do is blame God. How could you allow this to happen God? Why would you allow me to go through so much pain? And on and on the blame game goes.

    God is a God who only promotes good. I don’t believe He allows anything bad to happen to us, because then He would be contradicting everything Jesus taught us. Is God a just God? Yes. But, our judgement day is still to come.

    What we are fighting right now is a devil who reigns over this increasingly dark world who will fight for your soul and try to bring in confusion about your relationship with God. The devil wants you to blame God, because if he can get you to question your relationship with God then he can get you to become bitter, and angry, and all of a sudden you are on a treadmill running against the very God that was always blameless.

    satan wants our souls. he hates us because we get the inheritance and he gets eternal damnation.

    God is a loving God and it is time to start putting the blame over the dark god of this earth and not our heavenly Father whom is for us and not against us. AMEN!

  • 1 Corinthians 13:13
    And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

    Great blog!

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Radical Living:

Receive updates on the latest posts as Seth Barnes covers many topics like spiritual formation, what if means to be a christian, how to pray, and more. Radical Living blog is all about a call to excellence in ministry, church, and leadership -as the hands and feet of Jesus.

Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



© Adventures In Missions. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy | RSS Feed | Sitemap