When You Feel Disappointed with God

Have you ever been charged with a crime you didn’t do? Or handed a punishment you didn’t deserve? I have a dear friend whose husband was minding his own business one day (on his way to workout actually) when he got pulled over. And the next thing he knew he was being cuffed and thrown in the back of a sheriff’s van. Little did he know his identity had been stolen and used to buy (let’s just say a few too many) prescription drugs.

Devotional Scripture: Genesis 40
Key Verse: “Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful…Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!” Psalm 31:23-24

Completely helpless and obviously a weeeee bit concerned, Andy sat in jail the entire day charged with a class D felony; while Cari called everyone she could think of who might possibly be able to pull some strings on behalf of her falsely accused husband. And then she waited. Come evening she was able to post bond for him at Easy Ed’s Bail Bond Service. (Honestly that was the name.) But it was far from over. It took almost a year to clear things up.

Joseph however, had no one to speak his defense. No one to post bond for him or pull a few strings or clear things up, so he remained in jail. “Numbered with the transgressors” just as Jesus was (Is. 53:12), and appointed caregiver of the king’s chief cupbearer and baker, who had apparently done something to offend the king, he waited and waited for God to get him out. But it didn’t happen.

After some time (we don’t know how long) the cupbearer and baker both had dreams on the same night but with no access to Pharaoh’s wise men for understanding, they were noticeably troubled. Joseph on the other hand was not, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Please tell them to me” (v. 8).

An absolutely astounding statement considering Joseph’s own dreams had occurred more than a decade prior and had yet to come true. If it were me, I probably would have responded with something like “Sorry guys wish I could help but I stink at interpretations. I once had these crazy dreams my family would bow down to me but obviously I was way off.”

But Joseph didn’t even blink. The only explanation for his confidence – an unwavering faith in the dreams God had given. He had not lost hope. He had not given up. He firmly believed it would happen. (Anyone else put to shame by this kid’s relentless faith or is it just me?)

After listening to the cupbearer describe his dream of a vine with three branches that budded and blossomed, and shot forth grapes quicker than my three year old can devour a pack of oreos, Joseph gave the happy interpretation. “In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office.”

Great news thought the baker. So he shared his as well.  Only the outcome wasn’t so favorable for him. “In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head – from you! – and hang you on a tree. And the birds will eat the flesh from you” (v. 19). Talk about bearer of bad news! Way to not beat around the bush there Joseph. 

Then they waited a never ending three days to see if Joseph was right. The cupbearer anxious for the day to arrive while the baker hoped it’d never come. And Joseph? Well I imagine him a bit anxious as well. And hopeful. This was his chance! His God given opportunity. He’d asked the baker to remember him and speak to Pharaoh on his behalf. Surely he would. The whole thing was obviously God’s doing.

But when the third day dawned and everything happened just as Joseph said it would, there was no summons from the king to see the boy who’d predicted it all. No orders to bring up the man falsely accused. In fact there was no request at all. None. Because the cupbearer forgot about Joseph for two whole years.

Two whole years! Think Joseph was disappointed with God? I do. “LORD why? Why did you not do anything? I just don’t understand.” (Ever been there?) But here’s the thing. God was doing something. He was. It just wasn’t evident. Had the cupbearer mentioned Joseph to Pharaoh right away, it likely would have meant nothing to him. He had more important matters to tend to than a Hebrew slave. But when the time was right, it would mean everything.

A reminder to me to trust God because only he knows the why behind the when.

Allowing Joseph the opportunity to interpret the cupbearer and baker’s dreams, not only set the stage for Joseph’s rising but probably reignited the hope of his own dreams. And solidified a confidence within him that would come in handy when it was time to interpret Pharaoh’s.

He just needed to wait a little longer. The story was bigger than just him. And more often than we realize the same is true in our lives. It’s not just about us. It’s about God and his plan and his people and his purpose. Which sometimes requires us to wait a little longer (You have no idea how much I didn’t want to type that sentence.)

Giving us opportunity to bring glory to God through an unbending, unrelenting, undeniable faith. Wanna be someone great? Be a person of faith in a season of wait. Joseph didn’t do anything miraculous. He simply had faith in a long and difficult season of wait. When things looked bleak. When it looked as though it would never work out. When he was disappointed…he trusted God. My friend, “The LORD preserves the faithful…Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!” (Ps. 31:23-24) And you too will be someone great.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
When have you been disappointed with God? Perhaps right now you’re in the middle of “two whole years”, how can you showcase a relentless faith? What Scriptures can you hold on to?
What lessons have you learned in seasons of wait?

(Photo credit: Pixabay)

When You’re Still Waiting

As a year slips past and another rapidly approaches I wonder…are you still waiting for something? direction perhaps? good news? joy? Does the change of the calendar find you still praying? Still spilling your guts before a seemingly silent God? Hoping beyond hope that this year…it will happen. Your deepest desire fulfilled. Your longing satisfied. Your dream finally realized.

If so you’re not alone. The truth is…we’re all waiting. Maybe not for the same thing. Maybe not with the same intensity or for the same reasons. But we’re all waiting…for something. And when the thing for which we seek most earnestly finally happens, it doesn’t take long before we’re waiting for something new. Why? Because the reality is… life’s about the waiting.

(The following excerpts are taken from a devotional I posted last May entitled Life’s About the Waiting. To read it click here)

Consider Abraham who waited 25 years for God to make good on his promise of a son. Consider Jacob who waited 7 long years to marry the love of his life. Or Rachel who watched Jacob father 10 sons before she nursed a sweet baby of her own.

Ask Joseph who waited 2 unending years for the cupbearer to remember him in prison. Moses who waited 40 years for God to finally use him to free his people from slavery. David who fought and hid and ultimately waited 15 years from the time of his anointing until he ruled as king. Ask Zechariah and Elizabeth who remained barren year after year though they fervently prayed. Yet God delayed for his purposes. for his timing. for the one who would pronounce the coming of the Kingdom – John the Baptist.

Consider the faithful listed in Hebrews 11 who are still waiting. “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar” (Heb. 11:13a).

Consider the earth which “waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:19). Consider believers who “wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:23). “Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

And then consider Noah who waited 57 days for God to open the door of the ark after the earth had dried. 57 days!! As if 10 months on a big boat with a bunch of stinky animals wasn’t long enough.

I can’t help but wonder what the atmosphere on the boat was like during those 8 weeks. “Dad we can see it’s dry outside…let’s just break the door down. Dad seriously…I can’t take this any longer! I need off this boat!” Or what about his wife? I could see myself begging to go outside.

Yet they waited for God to give the command to go. They waited for God to open the door. Certainly not something many of us are very good at…waiting for God to open the door.

But you know what? It’s not about getting through the doorway. It’s not about the achievement. It’s about the waiting. About finding joy in the waiting. About glorifying God in the meantime.

Because that’s where the blessing is. Not in the attainment. Not in the accomplishment. Not in the acquiring of a long awaited goal. The blessing is in the waiting. “Blessed are all those who wait for him” (Is. 30:18b).

It’s in the waiting we draw near to the God who saves us. Seeking diligently for His almighty presence. It’s in the waiting we come to know his strength and not our own. As we learn to trust. Learn to lean. And learn to pray. It’s in the waiting we get to watch Him work. In us. Through us. And around us. And it’s through the waiting we grow.

There is much blessing in store for a heart and mind that waits steadfast on God. So as tempting as it to wish away the waiting. To rush the waiting. To loathe the waiting. Let’s savor the waiting. Knowing there is purpose and blessing in the here and now. “Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” (Ps. 27:14)

Because there’s blessing to be had in the waiting.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
What are you waiting for? How can you bring glory to God by your actions and attitude while you wait?
How can you see God working in the waiting? What purpose might he have?