Lent 6: disappointment that binds

All this talk of disappointment.  How come?  What does it have to do with Lent or even the love thing I first was writing about.

Maybe not much for you, but as I said in the beginning, this Lenten journey is about me and Him and disappointment does have a thing or two to do with me and Him these days.

See, I’m usually the fastest to bounce back from disappointment, but for the first time am feeling its lingering effects.  Normally I am crushed and then rebound, but this time around I am seeing it: I am noticing a heart withdraw, withhold in a way that is new for me.  I’m seeing it in my relationships with people and with God, and so, this is a thing for us this Lenten season.

Cause the truth is: I am so dreadfully disappointed.

I don’t honestly know what I expected for my life. But something different.  More love.  More grace. More loyalty.  More of His intervening power, more unity.  A different me.  A different them.  A different life.

And I’m disappointed.

And you know – that can be really hard to say. Because – I don’t want to be disappointed with God, because I know He loves me, and I don’t just know that cognitively, I feel and believe that. I feel so so confident He has done the best for me.  In fact, I’m confident that all the people who have disappointed me did the best they could.

Disappointment is confusing when there is no one to blame.

But that’s the gift of the Gospel I think.  The prize of the Cross: disappointment without blame.

This world is disappointing because it’s broken.  Always.  And sometimes it’s less helpful to try to figure out whose sin produced which disappointment, and more helpful to just put the blame on the one raising His hand and offering to take the blame: Christ on the Cross.

If the one to blame for our disappointment (sin) was clear – then we could join together underneath its weight and let it drive us to intimacy.  It could bind us instead of divide us; can build intimacy, foster commitment, fuel passion and build love.

It would mean we could allow God into our disappointment instead of trying to repress it.  We could instead let Him huddle in it with us and hear Him say ‘me too. I’m disappointed too.’

And vice versa – when we fail, when we do the thing we thought we’d never do, we don’t have to sit there and listen to a lecture from a disappointed God.  We don’t have to hide from our fear of His disappointment, but instead, we can huddle with our Father under the cover of the Cross – and say – me too. I’m disappointed too. Disappointment is not against us anymore; it’s not ON us.

There’s this power, this relief, in it.  In me saying – I am so desperately disappointed and God saying – me too.  I’m disappointed with choices I’ve made and I’m disappointed with choices others have made. I’m disappointed in the brokenness of generations that has lead us here. I’m disappointed in insecurity that makes it hard to love well and pain that tears at unity.  I’m disappointed in love that isn’t strong or big enough to make His kingdom really come.

And now – because there is no against – I get to take all that to Him and hear Him say – me too.  And neither of us is blaming anyone.  We’re not shifting blame off one another to find another victim.  Disappointment has found its perpetrator and that perpetrator has been punished on the Cross.  We’re agreeing together that this whole damn broken thing can be disappointing.

Disappointment has lost its sting.  Instead, tonight, He and I will lie in the dark together and we will grieve our disappointment.  We will grieve the plan that didn’t come to pass.  And we will whisper to one another new dreams, and I will learn that when we share this pain of disappointment we are made stronger by it.

Some questions for tonight:

  • How would your disappointment change if it were sharing instead of blaming?
  • What disappointment do you need to grieve with God?

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