Disclaimer: If you are here, it is hopefully because I have given you the link. If I did not & you know me & want to talk after reading this, please contact me. These words are the best way I have of describing how I am feeling at the moment, but they are in now way comprehensive or necesarily an indicator or well I don’t know anything …
Grief, Expectation and Disappointment
Words matter, they convey meaning, they help to shape the way that we both view and receive the world in which we live. Words can hurt, they can cause great pain the old sticks and stones saying is utter nonsense made up by people with no conscience. Words can also be a source of joy, of celebration, a positive word can transform a life, it can become the wind billowing your metaphorical sails.
Therapeutically words have huge significance, when you find the words, or maybe even just one word, that can help you define what you are feeling; breakthrough can begin. This happened to me recently, a word finally came to my mind and even though there are negative connotations, it has I believe, begun a breakthrough. The word is disappointment.
There is a deep dissatisfaction, that has built in me over the last several months. The origins I believe are two-fold, one is a dissatisfaction with the world & the way that things ”work”. This is different to the absurdity of life and existence, that frequently has me in contemplation. It is the never-ending cycle of power and abuse that seems to always draw back any progress our society makes. The other part, that I will talk about here, is a disappointment in god. Not anger, but disappointment, this for me, is more difficult to deal with than anger.
Anger stays for a while & then leaves just as quickly as it arrives. Disappointment comes with hurt and pain and is slower to leave. The disappointment I am harboring, comes from god not healing my dad from brain cancer (yes I know I am far from alone). He passed last September, yet it was only recently when I was able to identify one of the lingering things in my soul that is causing me concern.
We were at our church recently, singing a song called King of My Heart. I’ve not been “feeling” church in recent times, but we go most weeks still, because just like in Mark 9:24, “I believe; help my unbelief”. I feel that there is just as much, if not more power, in declaring things in our times of questioning as there is in times of strength.
So anyway, we get to a part of the song that says God is good, good, good. This is no problem, I do believe this, despite my confusion with his ways & plans & heck, even who “He?” is these days, I do believe that the divine creator of all is good. The next line “You’re never gonna let me down” shut me down. I stopped singing, in my mind all I could thing was BS. That was the moment where I was able to name my personal struggle with god in this time. He let me down, he disappointed me. This personable god who know my name, can number the hairs on my head & even knows why I need hairs on my ears now I’m in my 40s, had ignored me when it was really time for him to show up.
Matthew 7:7Ask9and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door10will be opened for you. 7:8For everyone who asks11receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened
Matthey 21:22And whatever you ask in prayer, if you believe,31you will receive.
So often we read these versus about how god will respond to prayer, how our good father will help us in our times of need. Maybe, like so many other versus, this is once again us (western Christianity) getting it wrong, applying an incorrect context and understanding to make a religion seem more appealing.
Ask & if you believe you will receive we are told. Oh, I believed without question that god could not only remove the cancer from my Dad’s brain, but fully restore and heal him. I didn’t doubt he could, for so long I didn’t doubt that he would. I was almost excited for the amazing testimony he would give us all to share, the miracle healing of one of his most devout, loving & caring children.
If ever there was someone you thought god would heal, it would be this man who had dedicated his life to god, to Jesus, to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Despite any flaws, my dad was the very definition of the fruits of the spirit. So when he passed, after an awful last couple of months, following a year of frustration at his brain not allowing him to think or function the way he had for 68 years prior, what set for me, in at a deep and painful level was disappointment in god ignoring our pleas to heal him.
Where was my god? Where was the author of creation? The being who I believe has been the source of transformation in my life, and the lives of so many that I know and that I have heard from. Where was he? Why did he do nothing? Either he chose not to, or he does not have the power to, I am not sure which would be worse.
Bad things happen to good people, I get it, I’ve written about it, bad things at the hands of other people, true love requires free will which also allows for the presence of evil. Cancer though, that is not the doing of other people, that is a senseless disease. I am sure there is some scientific explanation as to the abnormal cell growth of cancer and how it seemingly randomly exists. Why though? What possible explanation could there be for such a thing if our god is really a loving and active god? The bigger question though is why did he not fix it? Not just for my dad, why not just fix it, get rid of it. I don’t know and I don’t understand. I don’t want to hear about how he will use all things for good.
I understand this is an expectation that I placed on God, not necessarily a promise that was reneged on. Yet it cuts deeply, between that and all the angst in the world these days it has me questioning everything. I believe, yet I don’t know what I believe. I know god is, I just don’t know what god is.
I feel more distant from god than I have in years, yet I know he is with me. There was a period of such beautiful connectedness after my dad’s death, where my comfort came from him. Now I feel like I am on the cusp of losing everything as doubts and questions ravage my mind.
How much of what we are taught is truth & how much is just control? A power trip as old as religion itself? I thought the church was different now, but when you look around, it is the same as it was in the middle ages, absolute power corrupting absolutely. Pedophile priests, misogynistic pastors, rapist preachers, white supremacy dominating the landscape, entire denominations more focused on covering up their embarrassment than taking care of victims. People positioning for power abandoning any sense of morals that they might previously at least claimed to have & then trying to make their new stance fit their old lies.
What is true? How much of the bible is true & how much is just tales? How much is an accurate recollection of things that happened & how much is folklore? How much have we actually interpreted correctly and how much is at best just more human misinterpretation and at worst outright lies?
We got it so wrong millennia ago that god came as a human to show us how to do it right & and we killed Jesus for it. Maybe that is where I should begin, looking at Jesus, maybe I will find the answers to my unshakable faith that has been so badly shaken, with Jesus. Lords knows it won’t be in the world.
My faith is my cornerstone, I am who I am today because of what Jesus has done my life. I refuse to lose it, but I have to find answers, my faith journey was built on authenticity. My dad died and it hurts and I am deeply disappointed that god apparently did nothing about it. I am also disappointed that it has left me questioning everything. Yet what is my faith worth if it cannot hold up to questioning? If it holds up it is worthy, yet still, my source of comfort is not there, because it feels like it left me when I needed it most.
I have been writing this piece for almost 2 months now, I read it, I edit it, I give up on it. I want to share it, I don’t want to tell anyone, I want to let it breath & I want to bury it. This is so utterly emotionally and spiritually exhausting. It is a year to the day since my dad passed, I have prayed, I have called god names. He is silent, yet the door to answers to my questions keep opening, my circles keep expanding, you can call it coincidence, but I still believe coincidence has a name. The divine is with me, I know it, I am loved, I know it, yet I feel so lost in it all.
So lord forgive my disappointment, fill me again with faith and hope and love. Speak to me like you once did. If you don’t I guess that’s ok, just be with me as I question everything