Watching football. Mark is working on a project that is due tomorrow. Bethany has a friend over. Tim is doing homework. Keli should be home from working at a bridal show all day. And I’m looking toward the week, making plans for the days ahead. Praying through our schedule. Praying for mercy.
My ex-mother-in-law, whom I will always consider as my mother-in-law, gave me a $40 gift certificate to Amazon for Christmas. For me, that translates into four books from my Wish List. The books I chose are:
- The Question that Never Goes Away by Philip Yancey
- An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest by Alan Fadling
- The Surprising Grace of Disappointment by John Koessler
- The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida
I’m looking forward to reading each of these books and can hardly decide which book to start first.
But the title that stands out to me tonight as I look over my books is the one my Koessler: “The Surprising Grace of Disappointment” (Finding Hope When God Seems to Fail Us.)
I’m disappointed tonight. But “disappointed” seems to be a too “sanitized” word for what I really am, and that is grieved. I find myself disappointed in how my life, my marriage, my health, my friendships have turned out. And it hurts. Greatly so. This was not the life I expected from God, in my arrogance and pride. No, I expected–demanded even that after I became a believer all would finally be well in my life. Happily Ever After. A fairy tale ending.
At church this morning, in preparation for our church’s 50th anniversary, they asked us to start collecting special memories we have of God working and moving in the life of Seaford Baptist. My mind instantly went to my baptism–a beautiful, extremely meaningful event in my life that now has a bittersweet taste to it for my husband, who baptized me, is no longer my husband. And the man I renewed my vows with in a beautiful, intimate ceremony now sits in prison.
What I expected to be lifelong friendships are torn asunder and abandonment ensues, and my soul hurts tremendously.
Yeah, I’m disappointed.
And yet I look at the title of this book and I see the words “The Surprising Grace of Disappointment”. And I wonder, where is there grace in heart ache and disappointment?
Where can I go except to God? Where can I go except to Scriptures, to find this grace? This mercy?
The passage from the sermon this morning, leads me into thinking deeply about the nature of my God. The passage is found in Romans 11:
This is where I believe I must be settled. His judgements are unsearchable. His ways are inscrutable. I can not know the mind of the Lord. And I certainly can not be His counselor, thought there are many times I try to be just that. Foolishly. And there is nothing–nothing that I can bring to Him as a bargaining chip. Or there is no way–no way that I can repay Him. That’s difficult for me in my pride and arrogance.
Tonight, I am disappointed by much. Sundays always seem to be the most difficult days, for so many reasons.
And yet there is an inkling of encouragement in considering that there can be grace even in deep disappointment. I don’t know how it works. I don’t know if I will understand it more after I read this book. But I have to cling tonight to the hope that it is there. And that it is there for me. And for you.