When It's Not What You Thought (Dealing With Disappointment)

We stayed in his room for almost 45 minutes in prayer. I was determined to see him healed.His legs were bone thin from atrophy, the trachea in his throat slowly humming with each breath, the scars on his head from an unsuccessful surgery to remove the tumor that came as a shock to this healthy boy when he was 15 years old. Now at 17 he was almost unrecognizable from his earlier years.

We'd seen miracles in the service the night before, miracles as we walked the streets, but from the moment they told me about his condition my heart and mind were locked on seeing God touch this one. The teams stopped for each person as we leisurely made our way toward him, while my insides were screaming to take off in a sprint for his house. I couldn't wait to see God lift him off his bed of affliction. I was dreaming as I prayed on the way, how would He do it this time?

Time was nearing where I had to head back to the church to wrap up our day of training and ministry, as I looked at my watch, I allowed the thought of defeat to hit me like bricks. My eyes welled up with tears as I stroked his head, seventeen and lying in a bed, when he should be out playing "futbol" with other Brazilian teenagers. I knew as the tears ran down my face that I had stepped out of faith. I prayed for a few minutes as we sang worship, John, the young boy, giving us a thumbs up, motioning his delight for the worship. I held the mom and prayed... then we left.

As we filed back into the streets our team was full of joy for all God had done. There were salvations and healing, prophetic words, encouragement, and all we had discussed. The team had stepped out in faith and taken risks and they were overjoyed. I walked with a smile on my face as inwardly I dialogued with God, I've learned to recognize that sting of disappointment, and I've learned to not let it take root in my life.

We entered into the church, we gave God praise for all He'd done, and then I said, "Now let's talk about the hard stuff, I refuse to avoid what we all saw, this young boy was not healed..." I launched into a time of discussing how to handle when things don't go the way we'd hoped, when they aren't all healed, and of course we ended with testimonies and praise of His miraculous power.

Too often in the church we're afraid to address what we don't understand. In our own lives we try to mask our pain, disappointment, and fears. We bury them under smiles and faith statements, hoping that they'll never reveal themselves again. We run from pain hoping to find truth in that age old statement, "time heals all wounds".  Unfortunately, it's not true and faith statements, while powerful, when done with roots of bitterness, pain, and confusion are easily uprooted by the enemy.

I've learned the most remarkable thing, God actually sees all that junk in me anyway, so it's okay to show it to Him. I am not the first child to be disappointed in myself or in Him, I'm not the first one to get confused, I'm not the first one to be hurt, betrayed, or feel let down. He's seen it all before and He's actually remarkable at fixing it... when I allow Him to.

The will of God is not for us to bury our hurts, our pains, our confusion, or disappointment, it's His desire for us to be FREE from the effects of a broken world. I love in Joshua when God said to Him, "Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you" (Joshua 5:9) In other words, Joshua, let me show you my will for you, let me show you my nature, all of that junk from slavery, all the stupid mistakes in the wilderness, all the repercussions of sin, all of the persecution, every hint of your past hurts, past wounds, past failures, all of it, I'm taking it all away. What a good Father. His desire is for all of that to leave your life and sometimes it comes in a swift miraculous moment where He just uproots it all, but often it comes through a process of honesty, openness, intimacy, courage, and walking out of pain and into freedom.

It's necessary to be vulnerable with God. You have to come to Him and be completely honest about the junk that Holy Spirit is showing you in your heart. Tear off the mask. As I walked with Him through those streets I told Him, "God I expected Him to be healed, I hate that he's not, it's breaking my heart. There's one more who is desperate for a miracle and we didn't see it. We spent a morning discussing how You heal, how You redeem, how You love, and I wanted to see him healed". Get all the junk out. James says, "If you'll confess your sins one to another, you will be healed". First go to God. Lay it on the table, but then don't leave until He speaks back. Let's be honest, God's never wrong, and He always has the right words for every situation. I knew that it was God's will for John to be healed. I knew it wasn't His fault, but I also knew I needed to talk to Him about the thoughts going through my head. When you go to God, be real, be honest. David often vulnerably laid his heart before God saying things like, "WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?" or "DESTROY THEM LORD". Those are hardly words we'd expect from the man after God's heart, but David knew the value of intimacy and honesty with God.

Second as He speaks back, make time to repent. Repent for the things in your heart that weren't right. Even if someone else had deeply hurt you, repent for being offended, repent for not trusting Him to defend you. Repentance CAN NOT be a no no word in our vocabulary, in fact we should be intimate with it. Repentance rejects pride. Repentance ushers in healing and guidance. Repentance is actually one of the most beautiful gifts we've been given. Through repentance grace comes to change and see restoration.

Third, have good community. Share with them (with wisdom) your process. Allow them to walk through the process with you.

And finally, just keep walking. Just keep going forward. Depending on how painful the circumstance was you'll have good days and you'll have bad days. The situation with John was a one hour issue. As I laid my heart before God, He spoke to me, and then I relied on the Word to bring my heart right back to where it needed to be. However, I've been through pain and disappointment that took MONTHS to walk through. Daily I had to go back to the Lord, confess my heart issues that were ugly, confess the devastating pain I was feeling, confess the betrayal I felt, and I had to listen as He proved and listen as He loved and refreshed. I had to choose forgiveness everyday. I had to find scripture and begin to make statements about the condition of my heart in faith. I had to choose to dance sometimes when I didn't feel like it, I had to choose to cry sometimes when I didn't feel like it, but no matter what I had to just keep moving forward in faith.

The hardest thing with pain is embracing pain. It's so much easier to run from it, pretend we weren't hurt, pretend we weren't disappointed, instead we choose bitterness or unforgiveness. We choose to slander others or grow cold toward God. When instead we should meet our pain and disappointment head on. The enemy HATES when things are brought to light, but he loves when we keep things in the battle ground of our minds. Bring it out and let God walk you through healing.

It's okay to not be okay for a little while, just don't stay there. As you confess the issues of your heart allow God to step in and direct you. Allow Him to speak Truth to dispel the lies. Allow Him to show you His desires and plans. Life might not have gone the way you thought, but God still has a plan for your good. You may have stepped out in faith and feel like He failed, but He'll show you what He saw. You may have been hurt by those you really trusted, but He'll bring healing and restoration. You may have failed and be disappointed with yourself, but He'll forgive you, dust you off, roll of the reproach, and set your feet to dancing. Go to the Word and find scriptures to stand on, put Truth in your mouth. If you need to reconcile with those who hurt you, choose humility, go in love, COMMUNICATE, and watch God restore relationships you never thought possible.

As you go through this process, no matter what you do, don't choose offense, choose love. Jesus was beaten, slandered, abandoned, betrayed, by those who had never met Him and by those closes to Him and yet He consistently chose love, chose forgiveness, chose restoration. When we go to Him, He gives us the grace to do the same! He will heal you, He will restore you, He will bring you out better than before!

Be Blessed, J. Tate