We live in a world full of desperation. The weekly news highlights our desperate plight, as does the echo of every human heartbeat. We are all desperate for something and sometimes we simply cannot work out what we are desperate for most!
Last week we highlighted how easy it can be to be disappointed with others and with ourselves. We talked about raising our expectations to no one and nothing but God alone. In this week’s devotion, we look at Psalm 69 and King David’s song of desperation.
Yes, David was in desperation over his circumstances, but in essence this psalm is an expression of desperate longing for the person of God. “My eyes fail looking for you!” Here is a key lesson for us today… David did not allow his bitter circumstances to turn into bitter disappointment with God. Instead, he used disappointment to feed his desperation for God and it led to worship!
This week, through and in spite of our deep disappointments, I want to add to last week’s call to raise our sights to God. Now I would like us to take time to think about what it means to BE Desperate for God Himself – not merely desperate for what God can do for us!
It does not take too long into our journey Home before we experience some kind of disappointment with God. But when we do feel disappointed with Him, it is time to reassess whether our expectations were right in the first place. Perhaps our view of God needs to be realigned. Perhaps we have had some wrong teaching over the years in need of correction. You know what I am going to say next don’t you! We need to go to God’s Word to learn and absorb the truth in all these matters.
After feelings of disappointment arise, our choices in the wake of pain and suffering can cause us to either experience victory and life, or defeat and death. Sure, we may get mad with God for the suffering and for making us wait for His promises amidst suffering – but then we are given a choice. Do we, like David, turn this disappointment into longing for more of God or do we allow our disappointment to fester and grow into bitterness? Do we allow it to destroy intimacy in our relationships? Do we hold it all inside and let it rot or allow it to spill over in vicious words and poisonous actions? I sure don’t want that for my life, nor for the people I love. Sadly, I have seen the harvest of a soul that has been left smoldering with disappointment in God. It can sour a person’s spirit and spread like a cancer; far more deadly than the cancer Beth had to deal with. Unfortunately, because of its nature, disappointment with God that has been harbored and fed also spreads to other people like a contagious disease.
You may have guessed that I love the psalms and one reason why is that I think they give us the answer to dealing with disappointment. Desperation for God can conquer disappointment in God. To BE Desperate for God will mean an increasing degree of acceptance of our painful circumstances and the waiting that accompanies this fallen world. It will mean the facing of a reality we don’t like while at the same time guarding our hearts with God’s truth from the bitterness of ongoing disappointment. I don’t know about you, but I think most of my disappointment in God has come from my straining to fathom the mysteries of the unfathomable God in my own way, according to my own desires. Part of me wants a ‘god’ I can totally understand right now – that’s the part that gets disappointed!
But the deep down longing of my heart does not want a ‘god’ that I can fully comprehend and manipulate. I am desperate for the real God and like David, choose to use my pain as fuel that makes me even more desperate for Him!
Remember that disappointment looks backwards and down whereas desperation looks forwards and up! Let us seek to live whole and authentic lives within in the tension of disappointment and desperation. Let us BE Desperate for the true, living, eternal, loving and mysterious God – settle for nothing else friends and your disappointment will eventually fade to a shadow!
A song to encourage you:
Psalm 69 by Sons of Korah
C.S Lewis Song by Brooke Fraser
Books to build you up:
Disappointment with God by Philip Yancey
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Desiring God by John Piper
‘Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthy pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care on the one hand never to despise, or be unthankful for these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and help others to do the same.’ C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity