‘Will God ever let you down?’
If you’ve been around church for a while, you probably know the answer you’re supposed to say.
As a kid I remember repeating the same prayers that the adults in the church would pray out on a Sunday morning: ‘Thank you, God, that you never disappoint us!’ And so when I eventually experienced disappointment with God I felt confused and guilty.
We find strength in the eternal truths of a faithful God, a loving God who is working all things for our good, even when we don’t understand why situations are happening.
I had been praying for my friend who was deaf in one ear and was convinced God was going to restore her hearing. But she wasn’t healed. In fact, she eventually became deaf in both ears. Suddenly Christians saying, ‘God, you never disappoint’ not only felt hollow but began to fuel a doubt rising within me. I thought that if these people believe in a God that doesn’t disappoint then we either believe in a different God, or he doesn’t exist.
There’s a popular worship song that emphatically declares to God, ‘You’re never gonna let, never gonna let me down’. I love the song but when it gets to those lines I feel torn. Because God does let us down. And he also doesn’t.
Sound contradictory? It is. And isn’t.
I think the Psalms help explain this best. Far from just being the songbook of an ancient people it is one of our most helpful tools in understanding our lives, our God and how we relate to him.
In the Psalms we see countless examples of people who feel let down by God.
‘Why do you hide your face? Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?’
– Psalm 44:24
‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me…’
– Psalm 22:1
Turning to the Faithful One
These Psalms, called Laments, remind us that we will feel let down by God, and our first step is to acknowledge that – and God actually encourages us to do so. They then show us that the next step is to remind ourselves of the truth of who God is. The cry of, ‘Why are you distant?’ is concluded with ‘But the Lord hears (Psalm 69:33), he saves (Psalm 22:4), he loves us with a steadfast love (Psalm 44:26).’
We find strength in the eternal truths of a faithful God, a loving God who is working all things for our good, even when we don’t understand why situations are happening. We remind ourselves that when all is said and done he will never let us down. As those who have put our trust in Jesus we are no longer forsaken because on the cross Jesus was forsaken for us. His resurrection means we can be certain that when we die God will come good on his promise of everlasting life, no matter how rocky the journey is on the way. On that day when we see him face to face any frustration we feel in this life will be put in full perspective and completely melt away.
Feeling disappointed? You’re in good company. Christianity isn’t the religion of the perfect, it’s the way of the broken.
Is there confusion? Yes but we can be certain that he loves us with an unfailing love.
Is there pain? Yes but one day he will wipe away every tear.
Will God let you down? Sometimes yes but ultimately, no.