I recently suffered a stunning disappointment. I mean, it was a heart-wrenching stunner. I thought God was pointing and moving in a certain direction. Guiding this way and not that.
I was wrong.
I was sorely disappointed especially since the movement in that direction was not initiated by me. Originally I thought it was initiated by God through others. Not now. When I heard the resounding ‘No’, I cupped my mouth. I had to swallow my anguish. I couldn’t allow the girls to hear my primordial scream. I didn’t want to move them to tears with mommy’s tears. They wouldn’t understand.
Finally Lord, I thought, after all these years, you are moving me in this direction. And then this. Why God? Why would there be a resounding “No!”? Why wasn’t I left well enough alone? I was fine, on my way, following you, content-all before this possibility turned up.
God are you messing with me?
Why was this an exercise in futility?
Jesus, I thought you told me to cast my nets, the way you told Peter and the others to cast their nets (John 21). I cast my nets and they turned up empty. Is this some sort of cosmically cruel joke?
It can’t be. God, you’re not that way.
Again, I didn’t understand this one. Not this one. The invitation to move in this direction came through several trusted others. And so I thought it came from God too since it was also a desire of my heart. But then the door was slammed shut. Right in my face. In the eleventh hour.
I know God is kind, loving, and generous. He’s not stingy. But it’s moments like these that I am tempted to think that he is tight-fisted. This disappointment stings like crazy. I have to go on, hide my disappointment from my three little girls. My husband Shawn and I just need a moment to grieve together. Maybe more than a moment.
Right now I feel like so many who have been disappointed in God. Like Martha told Jesus, “If you would’ve been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.” My Lazarus, my dream, is dead in a tomb. I also feel like Joseph left in prison after he helped the baker and the cup bearer. Forgotten.
I’m fighting to believe in my Lazarus’s resurrection and my Joseph-like vindication.
Today I had to flip to chapter 8 of my book, “The Death of a Dream”. I had to preach to myself yet again, take my own advice. Here are my own words to myself and to others who are looking in:
Much of our disappointment over unfulfilled dreams is due to our inability to see. We see so little now. We are looking at reality through a peephole. So when I witness the death of my dream, or the dreams of others, and I can’t figure out what God is doing, I have to remind myself that I am looking at reality through a peephole. I have to remind myself that God is doing so many things, that he is interweaving the story of our lives into his grand story. It’s not just my life and my dream. It’s about our lives and our dreams. (pp. 121-122 A Beautiful Disaster)
The problem is that I can’t see. I only see a locked wooden door and feel the fresh sting of a door shut on my face-a door that had begun to swing open but not enough for me to go through.
Today I shot an e-mail off to a friend who was standing vigil with me. She was hoping and praying with me. I broke the bad news. She told me that she doesn’t believe it’s the end of the matter. I cling to her hope and her prayers and what I wrote in chapter 8.
God has got this in a way I don’t yet understand. And I know that if you find yourself in a similar situation, that we can grieve together. Find someone else to grieve with. God has got this. And when he turns the situation around in a way you and I could’ve never imagined, we’ll rejoice together.