I know a lot of people who are disappointed at this moment in time. I talked with a student yesterday who requested prayer. He told me he feared the wrong candidate was going to win the presidency. A lot of Democrats are disappointed because what they thought was going to be a “wave” election that turned into more like the wind stirring up the water in a baby pool. Republicans are also disappointed because, as of this writing, their man is going to lose his chance to serve a second term.
I will add myself to the list of the disappointed. In the weeks running up to the election, I and my wife had been praying for a decisive result, for one man or the other. We definitely had our preference, but we wanted more an unquestionable result that favored one or the other by a significant margin. That prayer was not answered in the way that we had hoped.
Disappointment comes with being a fallen human being. We naturally want our way. We’re born that way and we struggle with that throughout our lives. In the Scriptures, we this many times, particularly among the prophets. Elijah complained to the Lord after his challenge to the Baal worshipers did not end in a mass turn to God, but instead to a threat upon his life. Jonah wanted to see the horrific Assyrians destroyed and was deeply disappointed in the fact that the Lord wanted to give them an opportunity to repent. Jeremiah complained twice (12:1; 20:7) to the Lord about how the unrighteous always seemed to prosper, and about how difficult his calling was. Habakkuk, too, was disappointed in the Lord when things didn’t seem to be panning out the way he wanted. And, so that we are not tempted to think this is only an Old Testament problem, the disciples of Jesus were also disappointed when he was crucified, because they thought he was going to set the Jews free from oppression by the Roman Empire.
The prophet Isaiah quotes the Lord who says,
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (55:8-11)
As I wrote awhile back, like a child who is disappointed in a parent for not allowing him to do what he wants, in the same way we often find ourselves on the receiving end of disappointment. Yet, usually after we mature and look back at some of those parental decisions through adult eyes, we realize how correct those were.
This is how I am handling my disappointment with the outcome of this election. Just as Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane expressed his trust in the Father’s will, I, too, have chosen to follow his lead—not my will, Lord, but yours be done.
It does not totally eliminate my disappointment, but it does provide me with great comfort and hope.
© Jim Musser 2020 All Scripture references are from the New International Version, 2011.