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Do you know what it’s like to feel disappointed in God?

You’ve prayed. You’ve been faithful and obedient. You’ve sincerely wanted God’s best, not yours. And then “God’s best” turned out to be something that didn’t feel best for you after all.

You’re not alone in that disappointment. And God hasn’t forgotten about you.

For the past three years, my family has experienced its share of disappointments. My husband, a pastor who served faithfully for 20 years, stepped out of the senior pastorate for what we believed would be a one-year sabbatical, after which time he would transition into whatever God had for him next. And that one year turned into two, and then into three, and then, just as we were bracing ourselves for another disappointing year, a door cracked open. And that door actually stayed open long enough for him to walk through and experience life on the “other side of disappointment” once again.

And the words that keep coming to my mind and heart — as I reflect on the past three years of asking, waiting, complaining, repenting, and asking again — are never forgotten.

While you may feel disappointed this Christmas because of a lost love, a lost job, a lost opportunity, a hurtful betrayal, or a wayward child, you are not forgotten. Disappointed at life, perhaps, but never forgotten.

Here is a prayer I prayed in the disappointment. And I can pray it again now as I reflect on His perfect timing. I trust it will bring peace to your heart as you continue to ask and wait for your God to come through.

Lord, Jesus, I thank You for what You are doing in and around my life. Not because I feel good about it, but because Your Word commands me to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). I truly want Your will in my life, but I want Your grace and Your wisdom to not only recognize it, but to accept it and be grateful for it, as well.

I know You are in control of all things. I know You are the giver of “every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17). And yet for some reason You have chosen not to give me what I am asking for at this time. Your Word says You are “a sun [to light my way] and shield [to protect me from harm]” and that “no good thing” will You withhold from those whose walk is blameless (Psalm 84:11). Therefore, I choose to believe You are still good even when You withhold something from me and I don’t understand why. I choose to believe You are still loving, and You are still protecting me in the midst of what still feels disappointing.

Lord, at this time of the year when people are focused on giving, help me to remember that You have given me the greatest gift I could ever receive – salvation through my faith in Your Son, Jesus. And because of that great gift of Your Son, I also have peace, comfort, provision, and many blessings I might have missed because I was focused on the disappointments and the letdowns instead.

Thank You for all the days You have heard my cries, seen my tears, and worked behind the scenes in my life when I didn’t even realize it. Thank You for the many times you have walked before me or alongside me, “though your footprints were not seen” (Psalm 77:19).

Thank You for the air I breathe, for the ways I am healthy, for the fact that as disappointing as life has been, it could be far worse. Thank You for the people in my life who have reached out to me and been the arms of Jesus to embrace me, the hands of Jesus to serve me, and the mouth of Jesus to provide words of comfort. Thank You, that even on days when I received none of that, You were still there, speaking to me through your Word, through the circumstances in my life, and through Your quiet whispers on my heart.

As Christmas approaches, help me to love and serve others around me from a heart that loves You and trusts You no matter what has happened, and no matter what lies ahead. Thank You that my hope is not in my circumstances, nor in the odds, nor in “luck,” nor in others; my hope is in You (Psalm 62:5). “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2). “For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth” (Psalm 71:5).

And Lord, in the midst of my disappointment, don’t let my heart grow bitter and don’t let me begin to doubt Your love and presence. In these difficult times, “May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you” (Psalm 25:21). May I be a light to others this Christmas season as I focus on Who You are, and may my heart of gratitude and faith in Your unseen promises please Your heart. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Let me know if you’ve prayed this prayer so I can pray for you, too. Merry Christmas, my friend, you are not forgotten.

Hope in Him - Job 13:15There’s no magic formula for staying hopeful.

But I’m convinced there is One who instills hope in us during even the most hopeless of situations so that nothing can steal our joy.

I’ve spent the past 30 years sharing with women how they can be hopeful in the midst of life’s circumstances.  It’s natural for all of us to wilt in the heat of trying circumstances or dry up in the drought of life. But when we find our source of Hope we are able to flourish in the desert and bloom through adversity.

In my most recent book, When God Sees Your Tears,  I share how you can practice hope even when there might not be anything in your situation that looks hopeful.

1. Hope in God’s Word

Did you know that God cannot contradict His Word? While He has guidelines in Scripture that are not necessarily promises, there are passages that contain promises that hold true as we obey Him. For example, Philippians 4:19 says:

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (NASB).

You might be hoping in God for your wants right now, but His Word promises He will always take care of your needs (physical and emotional) as you look to Him for your strength and support.

2. Hope in God’s Character

God also cannot contradict Himself. So when He says in His Word that He causes all things to work together for good to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28), He will do just that. He will take care of what you put into His hands. The more you get to know Him, the more you will trust Him. The more you trust Him, the less you will doubt, worry, fear, or give up. So don’t expect God to be like every person who has let you down. Trust in His character by getting to know Him through His Word. It’s difficult not to trust One who is truly good, loving, kind, and incapable of making mistakes.

3. Hope in God’s Timing

God knows exactly when you are ready to receive the desire of your heart, and He will not act a moment too soon or a moment too late when it comes to doing what is eternally best for you. We can tend to doubt that. But that’s because we expect God’s timing to be similar to ours. God’s timing is nothing like ours. Yes, it’s often longer than ours, but it’s also far more precise. When you are in the long haul of waiting and you aren’t getting a yes, will you trust that what you might think is a no might really be His wait? He knows best. And therefore His timing is always perfect.

How do you and and I go from fearing the worst to expecting the best on a daily basis?

  • Realize the circumstances of your life haven’t happened by chance.
  • Remember there is one who oversees everything that happens in your life and loves you more than you can fathom.
  • Trust that if He’s waiting, or allowing hardships, or declining to answer you just now, He has a reason. Most likely, He is preparing you for the day you will receive the “good” that He has for you.

How will you remain hopeful in your circumstances today? I’d love for you to leave a comment on my blog and let me and my readers know so we can encourage you.

question_markDo you ever find yourself questioning God?

Why now, God? Couldn’t You have waited another week or so?

Why her, Lord? Couldn’t you have let it happen to someone else?

Why this, God? Couldn’t you have gotten my attention in some other way?

I found myself questioning God when something my husband and I had hoped for didn’t turn out the way we had expected or prayed. And God’s answer, from His Word, reminded me again Who is in control:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts.

Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than   your ways,

and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9, NASB).

That was God’s gentle way of telling me that He has a bigger picture that is above and beyond anything that I can see right now. And so I am asked to trust Him.

God sees our entire story in the spiritual realm that we can’t yet comprehend. He has reasons that are far above our own because He is God and we are not. And we are asked to simply trust…

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Wouldn’t it be nice if life consisted only of pleasant surprises, not the disappointing ones?

The other day I received news that was gravely disappointing. I wasn’t woman-prayingprepared for it in the least. I was shocked, actually.

God had been on a roll with blessings in my life. I guess I’d gotten a little comfortable. And this disappointing news couldn’t have come at a worse time — a week before Christmas, just days after celebrating my daughter’s college graduation, and just a week prior to my husband’s transition into a new season of life that carried with it a lot of financial uncertainty.

My family was daily looking for the little assurances that God had our back and we were constantly praising Him for all the times He came through. And now, it looked like the door to my golden opportunity and financial stability had slammed shut. My first reaction, spoken aloud, was “God, this is so out of character for You.”

And then I suddenly realized something.

God doesn’t do anything out of character.

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