In the previous two posts we went from Not Disappointed to Very Disappointed. Now we’re back to “Not Disappointed and Why Not”. And this is how it stays! My Good Father is not disappointed in me, and I’m not disappointed in the life my Good Father has given me! In Not Disappointed Part 3 we’ll look at how God sees us and why God is not disappointed in us.
Expectations – Disappointment is directly tied to expectations.
- Me: “I thought we were going to be able to do go to the beach this weekend but I have to work all weekend, and I’m so disappointed!”
- Her: “I was depending on you to be available to look after the kids while I’m at the board meeting, but you didn’t show up! I’m so disappointed!”
- All of us: “I’m so tired of the pandemic and lockdowns and restrictions, and it looked like we were about to be able to get back to normal! Now the cases are rising again and the restrictions are back in place! I’m so disappointed!”
- God: “I gave you a bucket load of blessings, expecting that you would appreciate my generosity and adjust your behavior to reflect your gratitude, and now you go and break all the rules I set for you. I’m so disappointed in you!”
Disappointment is caused by unfulfilled expectations, by a failure to live up to or deliver on expectations. Does God know me? Does God know what to expect from me? If God already knows what I’m going to do, how can I disappoint God?
Look at this story of Jesus and Peter...
69 Meanwhile, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant girl came over and said to him, “You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean.” 70 But Peter denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. 71 Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72 Again Peter denied it, this time with an oath. “I don’t even know the man,” he said. 73 A little later some of the other bystanders came over to Peter and said, “You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.” 74 Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed. 75 Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly. (Matthew 26:69-75 NLT)
Peter had brazenly insisted he would even die before denying Jesus! Jesus had predicted that before dawn the next morning, Peter would deny three times even knowing Jesus! Peter’s expectations of himself were based in ego, pride, and overconfidence. Jesus’ expectations were based in knowing Peter inside and out (and loving him unconditionally), and his foreknowledge of the things that were about to happen.
It looked to Peter like total irredeemable failure! Peter was crushed and broken and weeping bitterly in his soul-crushing disappointment in himself. It was over! He had failed! He had no further hope!
Here’s how it looked to Jesus:
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. 32 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers. (Luke 22:31-32 NLT)
Jesus was able to look ahead: Through desertion and betrayal, through torture and crucifixion, through death and the tomb, to resurrection and restoration on the other side. Jesus saw Peter restored and faithful, filled with the Spirit, preaching to thousands, healing the sick, strengthening the church, advancing God’s Kingdom!
But Peter had to live through it all in real time. Peter denied Jesus to a servant girl, then to another servant girl, then to a few bystanders. When Jesus’ words flashed through his mind, he was undone! Peter was broken! Peter the brave was a coward. Peter the bold was fearful. Peter the strong was weak as a kitten. And he was so disappointed in himself!
Peter was disappointed in himself, but Jesus was not disappointed in Peter! Friends, we must get this! To be disappointed would mean Jesus had an expectation different from what happened. Jesus knows you and me just as he knew Peter, friends! And he knows when we’ll disappoint ourselves. But Jesus sees us on the other side, restored, and he’s forgiven us already! In fact Jesus has big plans for us!
Jesus said to Peter, “When you are converted, strengthen your brothers.” And Peter did just that! He rose to the occasion, and along with James and John, assumed a key leadership role in the church that was birthed on Pentecost in the Upper Room. He preached boldly, he healed miraculously, he led effectively.
We get disappointed in ourselves and others, but God is not disappointed in us because God’s expectations of you and me are real and true.
Ten years ago I learned a lesson from that many-years-ago experience with my Dad when he said, “Your mother and I are very disappointed in you!” The lesson I learned was that my Mom and Dad were always very disappointed in me. The reality was in that moment they were disappointed in my behavior. And rightly so. But I learned the wrong lesson, and it in some ways affected me for the next 50 years!
Let’s be careful out there! Let’s be careful what we expect of ourselves, of others, of God, and of the life God has given us!
Father, Help us to grasp the truth that you’re not disappointed in us. Help us to grasp that you know everything about us, what we’ve done and what we’ll do, where we’ll fail and where we’ll fall, and that you see us on the other side of it all, restored and faithful. Grant us grace to receive your total forgiveness and full restoration. For Jesus’ sake!
Next week we’re going to dig into the “Not Disappointed” thing a little deeper. We’re going to look at four ways we get disappointed and some things we can do about each of them. Don’t miss “Not Disappointed Part 4” in next week’s blog.
As always, I’d love to hear from you and I welcome your comments and questions. If you’re reading on the blog, leave a comment below. If you’re reading from the email, click “Reply” and tell me what you’re thinking.