My favorite things to play with were baby dolls and Barbie’s. In my baby doll and Barbie’s world, the family was always happy and healthy, the Mama cooked delicious meals that were ready when the Daddy came home, the house was spotless, and the children were sweet and respectful. Mama was the one who held it all together and everyone thought she was wonderful! I was born to be June Cleaver! I’m not sure what went wrong . . . . .
My people-pleasing ways started early. As long as I can remember, I wanted to make everyone happy, and if I couldn’t, I was devastated.
The worst punishment that could have been given to me actually wasn’t having the phone taken away (although that was horrible). The worst thing was to disappoint my Daddy. It literally felt like my heart would break in two. The last thing in the world I wanted was to let my parents down. I wanted to make them proud. Shoot, I wanted to make EVERYONE proud. I even hate to disappoint complete strangers!
It’s a well known psychological fact that what you think about your earthly father is transferred over to what you think about your Heavenly Father. So naturally, I’ve also always been afraid of disappointing God the same way I’ve been afraid of disappointing Daddy.
When my life completely fell apart and I questioned the goodness of God, I also struggled with the fear that I had disappointed God so deeply that He left me alone in the mess I had made of my life. I had desperately tried to BE good and DO good, but I couldn’t make my life, and all the people in it, work like baby dolls and Barbie’s.
Was God sitting up in Heaven saying,
“I really wanted to fix things for Dee. She’s tried hard, but bless her heart, she’s failed. Too bad for her and her family. I wish I could help her, but I expected more out of her, so I just can’t do it now”?
Had I let God down so completely that I had tied His hands from reaching down to me?
Let’s look at another colossal disappointment in Scripture and see how God handled him.
In John 13, Jesus is about to be killed, and He knows it. It’s the night before His crucifixion, and He is having dinner with His disciples — including His betrayer, Judas. We don’t have to speculate if Jesus knew Judas was going to sell Him out to His enemies. John records that He was well aware in verse 21:
Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”
Do you think Jesus was disappointed in Judas?
To answer that question, we need to think about the definition of disappointment. Webster’s defines it as:
“unhappiness from the failure of something hoped for or expected to happen, someone or something that fails to satisfy hopes or expectations.”
In other words, we’re unhappy when we THOUGHT something would happen that we wanted to, or we thought something WOULDN’T happen that we DIDN’T want to.
We’re disappointed when it didn’t work out the way we thought it would.
In light of that definition, I submit to you that although Jesus didn’t approve of Judas turning His back on Him, and He was hurt and troubled in His spirit, He wasn’t disappointed. He couldn’t be, because that would imply that Jesus didn’t know what was going to happen.
Read the beginning of John 13 and you’ll see that Jesus showed His disciples, including Judas, the full measure of His love by getting down on His knees and washing their feet. Although He knew what was in Judas’s heart, He loved him and served him anyway.
I don’t think God was saying,
“Wow. I can’t believe what Judas did. I never dreamed he’d stoop so low! I’m utterly speechless! Now I’m going to have to re-think how to save my children! He’s messed up my plan!”
God knows just how low humanity can stoop. Every last one of us. He isn’t shocked when we sin — even the most grievous sin recorded in history — the betrayal of the Son of God by one of His own.
I believe God was grieved in His spirit when Judas betrayed His Son. I don’t believe He wanted Judas to commit suicide, and I believe He would have forgiven Judas if He’d repented — just like He forgave Peter for denying Him three times on that same fateful night.
I believe He’s grieved in His spirit when I sin as well. I think His heart hurts when mine hurts. I don’t think He wanted my children to be from a broken home. But I don’t think He was disappointed — He knew it was going to happen, even if He didn’t want us to make the choices we did. He wasn’t surprised. And He still had Plan B when I messed up Plan A.
Yes, there is disappointment as part of our relationships with God. But the disappointment is on OUR END. We become disappointed when God doesn’t do what we want, what we expect, what we hope He’ll do.
How jacked up is that? He isn’t disappointed in us mere mortals, yet we are disappointed in the Creator of the Universe? Doesn’t seem right, does it?
We can’t use this as excuses to sin and hurt God just because He’s not shocked at our behavior. He has expectations of us, and they’re found in Micah 6:8
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
It’s a high calling, but we have a High Priest to help us.
Even today, I find myself wanting the baby dolls and Barbie’s life, and I still can’t make it happen. When I mess things up, He may not be disappointed because He knows me. However, He DOES expect me to get up tomorrow morning and try again.