As the oldest, my parents had high hopes for me. I’m not sure what all those hopes were—some they never shared—but they let me know when I disappointed them. A good education was one of their hopes. They dreamed I’d do well in high school and follow that with college. Yet, I wouldn’t hear of it. I hated school. Eventually, I did attend college—and even earned post-graduate degrees—but not because my parents wanted me to.
Disappointment was the difference between my parent’s desires and my actions. Had they known I would sooner or later attend college, they may not have been disappointed. But God knows everything. How can I disappoint him? “Then they cried to the LORD again and confessed, ‘We have sinned by turning away from the LORD and worshiping the images of Baal and Ashtoreth’” (1 Samuel 12:10 NLT).
God has standards for his childrenas my parents did for me. In the Old Testament, the basics were the Ten Commandments. No stealing, lying, murdering, worshipping false gods, etc. In the New Testament, Jesus sums them up in just two commands: love him and love others (Matthew 22:36-40). Paul condenses it further when he maintains the entire law is summed up in one command: love your neighbor (Galatians 5:14). If God knows I’m going to fall short of any of these, can I disappoint him when I do?
The answer depends on our definition of disappointment. When it’s a feeling of surprise because something unexpected happened, the answer is no. God is never taken by surprise. On the other hand, if disappointment constitutes a feeling of being let down because we fail to reach a certain standard, then yes he can. God knows ahead of time what sins we will commit. Our actions may disappoint him, but he’s never disappointed in us as a person. We’re his creations…his children…and he loves us unconditionally.
When you disappoint God with your actions, simply confess. And then, address what needs your attention so you won’t repeat the failure.
Martin Wiles is an author, pastor, English teacher, and freelance editor who resides in Greenwood, South Carolina. He is the founder and editor of the internationally recognized website, Love Lines from God (www.lovelinesfromgod.com). Wiles is the Managing Editor for Christian Devotions, the Senior Editor for Inspire a Fire, a Proof Editor for Courier Publishing, and Assistant Editor for Vinewords.net. He has also served as Web Content Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolina. Wiles has authored Don’t Just Live…Really Live (Ambassador International), A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapes in a Noisy World (Ambassador International), Grits & Grace & God and Grits, Gumbo, and Going to Church (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), Morning By Morning, Morning Serenity, and Grace Greater Than Sin (America Star Books) and is a contributing author in Penned from the Heart (Son-Rise Publications), Rise (Chaplain Publishing), and Love Knots (Vine-Word Publishing). He has served as Regional Correspondent and Sunday school lesson writer for the Baptist Courier and has also written for Lifeway’s Bible Studies for Life curriculum. He has also been published in Christian Living in the Mature Years, Mature Living, Parenting Teens, Open Windows, Proclaim, Stand Firm, The Secret Place, The Word in Season, The Upper Room, The Upper Room Disciplines, Light from the Word, Reach Out Columbia, Mustard Seed Ministries, Journey Christian Newspaper, Common Ground Herald, The Quiet Hour, Power for Living, Halo Magazine, Joyful Living Magazine, Christian Broadcasting Network, Converge, Sharing, Today’s Christian Living, These Days, Plum Tree Tavern, Eskimo Pie, The Scarlet Leaf Review, Creation Illustrated, LIVE, Purpose Magazine, The Banner, Relevant, Bible Advocate, Reasons to Live, Author Magazine, and Lutheran Digest. Wiles has also written for the Bridges and Pathways Curriculum (Warner Press) and is a regular contributor to Christian Devotions, PCC Daily Devotions, Theology Mix, Inspire a Fire, The Write Conversation, Inkspirations, and VineWords and is a regular writer for the Dorchester County Eagle Record, the Orangeburg County Times and Democrat, and the Greenwood County Index Journal. Wiles has also served on faculty for the Asheville Christian Writer’s Conference. crat, and the Greenwood County Index Journal. Wiles also serves as the Managing Editor for Christian Devotions , the Senior Editor for Inspire a Fire, and as a Proof Editor for Courier Publishing. You can follow him @linesfromgod.