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Monday, September 3, 2012

“I am disappointed.”

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. 
Psalms 55:22 (NIV) 

There are few phrases I dislike more in the English language than “I am disappointed.” I have few memories of either my mom or dad ever saying that to me. They expressed their displeasure when necessary, but never in that manner. I still remember the sting I felt several years ago when a boss flung that phrase at me, at which point I then determined never to do so either to colleagues or subordinates-it just seemed inappropriate in a professional context. I try not to say it to my children. I prefer to encourage, even while offering constructive criticism. Today I struggled, when someone I love deeply seemed so focused upon their own stuff that their behavior disappointed me, deeply. Thankfully, I held my tongue saying nothing, praying for calm and a better, clearer opportunity to offer that encouraging constructive criticism. Just about the time I started feeling all smart and together, I thought about my Father God. How often do the things I say (or not say) or do (or fail to do) disappoint Him? There went my smarty-pants feeling together feeling … 

We daily grieve the heart of God. We don’t intend to, but intentions are irrelevant when it comes to damage. It’s like manslaughter. According to Wikipedia, “Involuntary manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without malice aforethought, either express or implied.” This means that someone loses their life without any planned desire to inflict injury or harm. While there is no intent, someone still ends up dead. We don’t mean to cause harm, but we do. The question is, what do we do about it?

When we are harmed, when others disappoint us, how do we respond? Do we pout, lash out, fight back? Would you want that response from God? In the face of our repeated disappointments and broken promises, we receive a steady stream of Divine Grace and Mercy. With all we are given, shouldn’t we at least try to give some away?

I’ve had time to recover from the morning’s disappointment. I do plan to have a conversation, but after giving it some thought, dictionary.com pointed me in a more useful direction. My calm and contentment have been disturbed; I am troubled.  When compared with disappointment, being troubled seems much more a temporary condition. One upon which I can practice patience. One upon which I can practice Grace. One predisposing me to be mindful of the rich gift of salvation, how little I deserve it, how magnificent it is to receive, and how, when I practice this Grace, perhaps I am drawn a little closer to the one who spends so much time and effort forgiving me, loving me, giving me chance after chance at new mercies. I am recovered.

I am refreshed, and no longer disappointed. I have some teaching to do. I have some Grace to share, for all I’ve been given. My disappointing moment was a blessing waiting to be unwrapped. An unexpected gift and reminder that God is good.

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