Jump Start # 1943
Matthew 19:22 “But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieved; for he was one who owned much property.”
I wrote about this rich young ruler recently. I continue to think about our verse today. He went to Jesus. Jesus didn’t come to him. He sought Jesus out. He had a great question. He wasn’t afraid to ask it. But the Lord didn’t answer the way he expected. He went away. He went away grieved.
Disappointed with Jesus. What he expected and what he was anticipating was not what Jesus delivered. This isn’t the only time we read this in the N.T. On another occasion, someone told Jesus to settle a family dispute about inheritance. “Tell my brother,” is what the man said to Jesus. He was hoping that this popular rabbi would agree with him and he could use that to leverage what he wanted from his family. It didn’t work that way. Jesus turned the discussion to greed and the man didn’t get the help that he wanted. He was disappointed with Jesus.
Martha is another example. You remember, “Martha, Martha.” She was serving and Mary, her sister, was sitting. Mary was listening and Martha was fuming. Martha reached the boiling point and interrupted Jesus with, “Tell my sister…” Her sister was sitting right there. Why didn’t she just say, “Mary, can I speak to you a moment?” Maybe she dropped hints. She expected the Lord to side with her. She was wanting the Lord to say, “Mary, go help your sister.” Didn’t happen that way. The Lord said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things.” Martha was disappointed with Jesus. She didn’t get the answer she wanted.
Disappointed with Jesus. That still happens. It often happens when we have in mind what we think Jesus ought to do. In fact, with both Martha and the man with the family inheritance dispute, both of them approached Jesus with, “Tell my…” Tell my sister…Tell my brother. That sounds bossy. “Could you tell them,” is in a form of a question. “Tell them,” is directing Jesus. We do not tell Jesus to do anything. We ask, we don’t tell. He’s the Lord.
How can a person be disappointed with Jesus?
First, when prayers are answered “No.” We pray. We ask. We beg. But, it’s always “Thy will be done, not ours.” “No” is an answer. It’s not the answer we wanted. It’s not what we hoped for. Why does God say “No?” Why do you say “no?” Why does a parent say “no?” We see things from our perspective. We see things from what looks good to us. God sees the whole picture. Pain free, trouble free, hassle free—that’s great for us. God allows trials. God walks us through those valleys of the shadow of death.
Second, when the Bible doesn’t allow what I want. A person may want out of a marriage. A person may want to walk with one foot in the world of sin. A person may want to do what they want. God’s word is final. God’s word is exact. Disappointment comes when a person looks for a loophole. They want an exception that’s not there. They don’t like where the Bible takes them. Disappointed.
Third, when what God expects is hard. We’d think things ought to be easier for Christians. It sometimes isn’t. When the gospel was preached in Corinth, some obeyed. In some homes, one became a Christian and the other didn’t. This strained the marriage. In some cases, the marriage ended because one became a Christian. That’s not what we would expect. Here is a person who did what was right, and life got harder as a result. Forgiving is not easy. It’s hard to let go when someone has hurt you. It’s hard to turn the other cheek. Following Christ requires watching our influence, our language and our attitudes. We must be careful. We must be alert. It’s a lot easier not thinking about those things. It’s a lot easier to just do what you feel like. Worshipping in the days of persecution is hard. Standing up for what is right is hard. Think of those three Jewish men who refused to bow to the Babylonian idol. That wasn’t easy. It came with consequences.
A greater thought is, “What do I do when I am disappointed with God?” Our verse today shows one common reaction. Walk away. Give up. Become grieved. Done with Jesus. He didn’t do what I thought He should. He let me down.
Our disappointment with God can color how things really are. We can become bitter towards God. We can say things that are not true. Mother becomes ill. The family gathers. It’s serious. Prayers are offered over and over. Mother dies. Folks don’t understand. She was good. They prayed. Why did God allow her to die? Why did God not answer their prayers and restore her health? It’s enough to become bitter for some. That’s all it takes to throw in the towel. I remember reading about the death of a young girl named Annie. She was adored by her father. Her death devastated him. He was already walking away from God, but this pushed him. He was never the same after that, claims one biographer. Her father was Charles. Charles Darwin. The son of a minister who at one time early in his life was leaning towards preaching. Charles Darwin who popularized the theories of evolution. His little girl’s death, shattered hope he had in God. Disappointment can do that.
What’s the proper way to look at being disappointed with God?
It begins by realizing that God is good. He sees things and knows things that we never will. He wants us to be spiritual, strong and close to Him. He wants us to spend forever with Him in Heaven.
Trust God. Don’t give up on Him.
Draw closer to God. Don’t back away.
Look closely at the Psalms. There you find yourself. There you encounter those who felt God was not listening.
Look at the people of God in the Bible. They had fiery furnaces. They had lion’s dens. They had prisons. God didn’t keep His people out of storms. God didn’t prevent His people from enduring famines. They suffered, yet they walked with God. They endured and they continued to believe.
Remember, this world is not our home. This isn’t Heaven. This life is plagued with the brokenness of sin. Disappointments come from wanting perfection in a world that is not perfect.
God won’t leave you. He’s there. So, things didn’t turn out as you wanted. Talk to God about that. So the load you carry remains heavy. Talk to God about that. Turn to Scriptures.
Surround yourself with worship to God and brethren who love you. Support. Help. It’s all around you and found in the faces that make up the church. They may not understand why, but they care. They love. They hope. They walk with you.
The young man in our verse today walked away from Jesus. He didn’t get what he wanted. Disappointed. He must have felt that Jesus let him down. The truth is, he let himself down.
Dealing with disappointments—it often shows what we are really made of.