By Barbara Rainey
First posted on EverThineHome.com
Only one week after my 13th birthday I experienced my first big disappointment with God. As the oldest child and only girl in our family of three kids, I was first shocked and then thrilled when my parents revealed my mother’s pregnancy. I had always wanted a sister and this was my chance, so I started praying. A lot.
Early one morning in late August, just before dawn, my dad came into my room and gently shook me awake. Instantly I knew the baby had come. I bolted upright in bed with anticipation and heard, “You have a new baby brother.”
Ugh. My shoulders slumped and my head banged back against the headboard. Another one? I’d lost my opportunity to have a sister. I was so disappointed. Hadn’t God heard my prayers? Did I not ask enough?
Thankfully my disappointment was very short lived. As soon as I saw my baby brother and held him I found I was in love.
From that day to today, losses and disappointments with God have become all too familiar companions of mine in my 50-plus years of belonging to Jesus. And I can promise the same has been true for you.
Loss and hardship are inevitable and universal. We can’t escape difficulties. And that means that, at some point, we will all be disappointed in God.
But what do we do with our disappointment? Most disappointments are not resolved over-night like they were with my baby brother.
How do we find hope in the midst of our losses and hardships when disappointment feels overwhelming?
Here’s the wonderful truth:
Hope is more real than our disappointments.
Hope is a Person, and His name is Jesus.
He never changes while our disappointments and hardships come and go. Life is in constant flux, but He is not.
When we walk in faith, even in the midst of hard circumstances or when dealing with a painful relationship, we declare that we believe that God’s Word is true, that He is always with us and can be trusted. When we invite Him into our life situations, we are welcoming His work in our lives, we are surrendering to Him and saying no to self.
Hope is the flower of faith.
God’s Word is full of promises ... including the promise of the power of His Spirit to transform us ... and the promises that He will one day make all things new. With the hope that comes from faith, we can begin to see a new vision. God’s Word opens our eyes to a new way of life here and a new life to come.
On January 16 we will release a new online video study titled, Cultivating Hope in Times of Hardship and Disappointment. This series, with five video messages and a free downloadable workbook, is a compilation of many of the lessons I’ve learned in my 50 years of following Jesus as His disciple.
Stories of how God had righted my expectations of Him.
Stories of His invisible guidance.
Stories of more hard knocks and disappointments than I ever expected.
But in all those unexpected interruptions, surprising difficulties and hardships with no answers, God was present. He was always with me, though I rarely felt it. Every experience offered me an opportunity to meet Him in my hard places. And He always waited.
If you started this new year experiencing disappointments in your life I hope this blog post will encourage you to keep trusting Him even in the midst of the uncertainty. And I hope you’ll consider joining me for the study on January 16.
God loves you and wants you to hope in Him alone.
My Heart, Ever His: Prayers for Women (NEW from Barbara Rainey)
As we search for meaning in our world of shallow online relationships and glamorized selfies, many are returning to traditional and liturgical churches. The repeated words, benedictions, and historic hymns connect us to saints who have gone before, giving us a sense of belonging, richness, and transcendence. Written prayers, once cast off as archaic, are now welcomed as guides to tune our hearts to the heart of God.
In My Heart, Ever His Barbara Rainey shares 40 prayers for women. Readers can read and meditate on one prayer throughout the week or read a prayer a day for 40 days as a way to express the longing of our hearts to our Father who loves us even as he sees who we truly are. Like the psalms of David, these prayers are honest, sometimes raw. Barbara uses these transparent expressions of common female experiences to encourage us to surrender to Christ and help us see God as he is, not as we assume him to be. My Heart, Ever His provides a stepping-stone to help you become more transparent with God and discover his welcoming embrace.
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