When I was a little girl, I never doubted the stories in the Bible. I had faith. I believed God so much that I thought I could walk on water if I had enough practice. I used to try carefully stepping on top of the water while the tub drained. I must have thought the different levels might help or something. Ha!! My confidence in God was unshakeable. I knew His power could overcome any situation.
I carried my childhood faith into adulthood, always believing that the prayers I was praying would be heard and answered. Year after year I would find myself waiting for Him to respond to what I had been asking and trusting Him for. Year after year it became harder to stir up my faith and continue to hope that God would move on my behalf. I handled these unanswered prayers the best way I knew how but I remember sensing the walls begin to come up between the Lord and I. Thoughts would pop into my head while I was in spiritual conversations with others like, “Is that really true?” or “But have YOU really seen God do stuff like this in YOUR life?” “He didn’t do it for you so why would He do it for them?” They were all subtle enough that I could usually push them to the side and move on but I could tell that my spiritual life needed help.
I remember asking the Lord what was wrong and hearing the word “disappointment”. I am not sure what I thought He was going to say but “disappointment” surprised me. On the outside, it seems like it’s a legit emotion. Dig a little deeper and you will learn that it basically means that you thought you were owed something and someone let you down. I had no idea what had taken root in my heart. If you asked me if I had faith I would have told you absolutely yes…but in the back of my mind, deep in my heart, I kind of wondered.
Knowing “disappointment” wasn’t a good thing, I did some research, aka Google. I saw a teaching by Bill Johnson called How to Overcome Disappointment. It was exactly what I needed to hear and I HIGHLY recommend it. I learned how disappointment when not managed opens the door to unbelief. I unknowingly allowed myself to stay in this emotional space, secretly feeling like God let me down and owed me. Instead of going to the Father with my hurt, I covered up the disappointment by pushing down my emotions and coming up with reasons why my prayers were going unanswered. God loves me, is sad that I am hurt and wants me to bring Him my pain and my disappointments. God wants me to honestly tell Him how I feel and then wait to hear His response. Sometimes things happen and we don’t understand. But we shouldn’t “explain” them away with bad theology, pretend like it didn’t happen or say that God “just wanted to teach me a lesson in patience.”
I realized that I needed to take all of these emotions I was having to Jesus. I got alone with the Lord and I poured out my heart to Him. I told Him that I felt like He had let me down, that He didn’t have my back, that He KNEW my situation and I felt like He set me up. As I laid it all out there, my physical heart started to hurt. It took several minutes for me to get all the words out as I cried. The Holy Spirit came and I could feel the walls coming down and my pain and dissapointment dissolving as peace filled me up. So much happened in those moments of honesty with Him. My faith was restored. Real faith without any doubt or sly little whispers. I could breathe again! It’s crazy how we don’t realize how trapped we are by something until we are free from it. I was able see and feel the difference.
I still have that unanswered prayer before the Lord but I have learned new ways to look at it. I haven’t given up and in fact my faith is stronger today than it has been in a really long time. Someone recently shared with me that they felt the Lord wanted me to return to a place of faith from my childhood. I think I know EXACTLY what they were talking about. I am going take advantage to my access to the beach…and practice walking on water.