This week added to my experience of disappointment with another surprising twist in relationships. It brought me back to the drawing board, so to speak, to evaluate and test whether God's way of relating to people who had disappointed him was wearing off on me. As I refreshed my journey through the prophecy of Zephaniah, I saw both what I had already learned that was encouraging me in the newest surprise, and how good it felt to want to learn even more. After this week in God's word I was again so thankful for the ongoing ways we can get to know God better than we have ever known him before. I share these daily posts with a thankful heart.
Sunday: "The Quieting Comfort of Love"
Many folks want the drive-thru version of everything. The maturity skill of delayed gratification is not common. Advertisers count on this, that people will think they need what they want, and will go into all kinds of indebtedness to have that immediate dopamine excitement of having stuff now.
People who give God a “try” are often disappointed that he doesn’t work with the immediate gratification of their childish whims and wishes. Whatever they think God is offering them, they want it all now, no relationship-building required.
When it then comes to facing things that are broken, or sinful, or traumatized, and it is God’s love that does the healing and quieting and comforting, there are relational things that must be resolved before the quieting power of love can do its work.
Here are a few thoughts about how God quiets us with his love, but on a first-things-first basis. If we are willing to relate to him with whatever is inside us, he will quiet whatever is wrong with his love. Meet with God and let him show you the first step.
Monday: "To ‘Be With’ in Disappointment"
Why does God want to be with people who disappoint him?
Well, for starters, THERE ARE NO OTHER KIND OF PEOPLE!!!
In fact, his Son, Jesus Christ, the Word who became flesh, is the only human being who did NOT disappoint his Father.
As the perfect God-Man, Jesus satisfied all God’s disappointment in his children so that God could address disappointing relationship fails without treating us like disappointments.
Does this delightful jumble of thoughts stir your interest in how to know the Creator who so lovingly addresses disappointments to lead us into relational delights? Then enjoy the read and let me know if I can help you know God in such a real and personal way.
Tuesday: "To ‘Save’ in Disappointment"
When people are disappointed in each other, there is often an “I’m right and you’re wrong” mindset. We believe that our view of what happened is the best, and we want to hold out for the other one to admit they are wrong.
When God is the one disappointed in his children’s behavior, there is only one way of seeing things. Not only does he see things better than us, but he sees things perfectly. We can only juggle the few bits of info we can consider from our side of the battle line. God has every bit of intel in his mind, not only as it relates to all the friendly-fire among his children, but including everything going on everywhere in the material universe and the spiritual realm.
That being true, we learn to be like him by studying what he does with his children, not obsessing about what we would like to do to others. And when we stop and look at him, we are reminded that he comes into every situation of conflict and disappointment to save. It doesn’t matter how bad it is, he wants to be with us to save. He comes to restore. He comes to forgive. He comes to heal. But it is HE who does the saving.
Are you in any kind of situation where you wonder if God is disappointed in how you are living? Are you overwhelmed by your disappointment in others and can’t even look at whether you are disappointing them as well? However you would describe it, God is powerful enough to save you today, and here are a few thoughts to encourage you to get to know him like that.
Wednesday: "To ‘Rejoice’ in Disappointment"
I realized this morning that I am a “living parable”. A parable is a short description of something people could easily picture to illustrate profound spiritual realities that were more difficult to understand. Jesus used parables to give illustrations from everyday earthly life of what life in his kingdom would be like for anyone who believed in him.
The way I am a “living parable” is that Jesus uses my own situations of relating to people to illustrate how various aspects of relationship work in his kingdom. Many of these parables come in the form of experiences with children in our family daycare. I can see myself in the kids, and I can see God’s relationship with me in my relationship to the little ones (as an illustration, not a perfect example!).
This is strongly emphasized to me in the whole area of returning children to joy after an upsetting circumstance. I have now watched the effect of this for years, so it has become very real to me what it is like from the adults’ side. However, I also see what happens to the children when we consistently practice this with them (yes, it does feel like constantly practicing this and getting better at it all the time!).
When God addresses a very upsetting relational dynamic with his children, and describes the negative-emotion issues he must address, what he sets before them as the goal and aim is what I now understand as returning children to joy. If you are willing to admit to any negative emotions that may be going on between you and God, let yourself see how he wants to return you to joy, and then surrender to the “easy way” of following him home.
Thursday: "To ‘Quiet’ in Disappointment"
My wife runs a family daycare out of our home, and I love to assist her in the care of the children. However, at the end of the day, when the last child leaves, we both love… the QUIET!
I have been through plenty of squabbles and conflicts and fights over the decades. I hate the attachment-pain that comes from anger and rejection. I hate the disregard of my feelings. I hate the guilt of knowing what I contributed to an argument. I cringe when I need to see that I was just as unloving as anyone else.
But when people are willing to reconcile, especially when they are submitting to God to do reconciliation his way, and hearts are restored to love-relationship, there is a quiet that comes over the soul that is a treasure. In fact, the quiet after relational conflict is so… QUIET… that working through any of the negative emotions involved in a fight is worth the painful admissions and confessions that are required to get there.
This is because the quiet we are talking about is relational-quiet. It is peace in relationships. It is enjoying attachment with someone who has worked through every bit of anger and wrong-doing with us so that there is no longer anything between us. Our relationship is fully restored, there is joy and love and peace filling the room, and a deep abiding feeling of being together to enjoy who we are to one another without any distracting conflicts or disappointments in the way.
Today I share a few thoughts about the Quiet-Expert. Our Creator is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who are always at peace with one another. They have resolved the conflict between God and sinners. They invite us into their peace through Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
God ministers his peace to me on a daily basis. No magic. No talent. No secret society. No pass-code. No secret handshake. Rather, through the gracious gift of the word of God and prayer, God ministers the food of his word to my starving soul and shows me day after day new puzzle-pieces of his love for me, his joy in having me, and his peace in relating to me. The quiet of his love is a distinctive feeling in a class all its own. And it is offered to you today if you have the ears to hear what Jesus is speaking into your heart.
Friday: "To ‘Sing’ in Disappointment"
There are a handful of songs I love to sing when I am
sad. I have written many songs of my own to express a fair range of negative emotions. I did a whole series following the general idea of the five stages of grief. I have cried my way into worship, and I have cried myself to sleep. Jesus was, “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” so I know he both sympathizes with his brothers in our sorrows, and hears our worship when we entrust our souls to him in our grief.
However, when I find a song that expresses the joy of relationship with God, it feels like a longing that has found its home. Grieving may last for a night, as God’s word describes, “but joy comes with the morning.” We grieve when we must, and Christians should be the best and healthiest grievers in the world. But our greater longing is to know the return to joy that comes with God’s mornings.
The beautiful expression of relational joy in Zephaniah 3:17 tells us that, no matter how much negative emotions must be shared between him and his people, he wants to be with us, he wants to save us, he wants to rejoice over us, he wants to quiet us with his love, and he wants a fellowship of singing joyful songs about one another that fulfills Jesus’ words, “that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
Join me in a consideration of how God wants to relate to his children in such joyful delight to be together that he pictures it as a Father loudly singing over his beloved children who have come home. It is a very biblical, God-honoring reality, and we are invited to know him exactly as revealed.
Saturday: "The ‘Complete’ Return to Joy"
I was going to do a summary of how the past five days of sharing culminate in a grand crescendo of God’s joy in his children. However, I had no idea how God himself would raise his baton for a stanza of love that was a total surprise.
It began with some familiar threads of harmony that reminded me of my starting place as a child. It quickly took me through some scenes of heartache and attachment-pain to set me on the viewpoint of that day when God will wipe away all my tears and fill me with his eternal joy.
And then I heard the lyrics singing into my soul,
“Father in heaven,
you are not only a joyful person,
but you are a loving person!
Love is who you are,
and joy is how you feel about it!
Love makes you happy!
Loving me makes you HAPPY!
Loving ME makes you happy!
I tremble with wonder, O God!”
And, yes, this did complete my week with a wonderful return to joy. You are invited to know God’s love and joy for yourself through the gracious gift of faith in Jesus Christ our Creator, Lord, and Savior.
© 2022 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)