Maybe you have longed for healing, for a job, for a baby, or for a wife. You have faithfully and earnestly prayed for weeks and months — even years. But you are still sick, still unemployed, still childless, or still single.
And you are disappointed. In fact, you are disappointed by God.
For many years my wife and I longed for pregnancy. We longed and prayed. And longed and prayed some more. Couples we knew got pregnant — but we did not. And we felt deep disappointment. But God’s word calls us to live by faith. And faith means trusting all that God promises to be for us in Christ Jesus.
So then, what does God promise when we are disappointed?
You Lack No Good Thing
One promise that’s helped me over the years is Psalm 34:10, “The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” This promise is for those who seek the Lord — those who are saved by faith in Christ and who are seeking to know him more.
God promises that those who seek him will lack no good thing. Which means, if something is good, God will give it to you.
Now that’s hard to swallow. After all, you are still sick, unemployed, childless, or single.
So how is God fulfilling his promise to you?
The Greatest Good
What helped me understand this was to ask: What is the greatest good?
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” (Psalm 16:2)
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. (Psalm 73:25)
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. (Philippians 3:8)
“God promises that those who seek him will lack no good thing. If something is good, God will give it to you.”
So the greatest good is God himself — knowing God in the person of Jesus Christ.
This is not just knowing about God. This is actually knowing God. This means to feel his glory, sense his love, experience his presence. When we experience God in this way, we are so full that we desire nothing else. God is the only all-satisfying good, which is why he is the greatest good.
What Makes Something Good?
So what does God mean when he promises we will lack no good thing?
Healing can be good, but so can lack of healing.
If God is our greatest good, then what makes something good is whether it brings us more of God. So being healed of a sickness can be good because it can bring us more of God by showing us his power, mercy, and goodness. But not being healed can also be good since it, too, can bring us more of God by drawing us even closer to him.
That’s what Paul experienced with his thorn in the flesh, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
So if God chooses not to heal me, it’s because sickness will bring me even more of his all-satisfying presence than healing would have brought me. In that case, even though I’m lacking healing, I’m not lacking any good thing, because the sickness is how I will experience the most joy in God. Since God is my all-satisfying treasure, then what makes something good is whether it brings me more of God.
So when God promises that we will lack no good thing, he means we will lack nothing that would bring us more of God. We will have absolutely everything that will bring us more of God. So if you lack healing, or a job, or children, or a wife, you are not lacking any good thing because God has ordained your lack to bring you more of himself.
Why Am I Disappointed?
When I feel disappointed by God, it’s because at that moment there’s something I’m longing for more than him, whether it be healing, employment, a child, a wife. As good as healing, employment, children, and marriage might be, none of them will come close to satisfying me as much as God himself.
So when I’m disappointed by God, there’s a problem with my faith. I’m not trusting that God himself is who he says he is for me in Jesus. I’m not trusting in him as my all-satisfying treasure.
“If God is our greatest treasure, then what makes something good is whether it brings us more of God.”
So what can I do? Here are eight steps I have personally found helpful in disappointment.
- Come to Jesus Christ with your disappointment, trusting him to meet you and change your heart (Psalm 40:1–3).
- Confess that you are longing for something else more than him. Ask him to forgive you through the cross. Receive assurance of complete forgiveness (1 John 1:9).
- Plead for the work of the Spirit to change your heart, strengthen your faith, and enable you once again to experience Jesus Christ as your all-satisfying treasure (John 6:35).
- Since the Spirit does his work through the word, find Scriptures describing God’s love, power, and majesty, and promises concerning God as your all-satisfying treasure. Pray earnestly over these Scriptures. Fight to trust them (Galatians 3:5).
- Continue praying over and trusting these Scriptures until you feel the Spirit changing your heart, and you once again experience Jesus Christ as your all-satisfying treasure (1 Peter 1:8).
- Pray over God’s promise that he will ordain every trial to bring you even more heart-satisfaction in him (2 Corinthians 4:17). Do this until the Spirit strengthens your faith that whatever you lack will bring you even more of God.
- Also pray over God’s promise that he will take care of everything else you need (health, work, money) in such a way that it will bring you even more of him (Philippians 4:13, 19; Matthew 6:33).
- Continue to pray for the other things you desire (healing, employment, children, marriage), but fight to keep trusting in Jesus as your all-satisfying treasure (Psalm 43:4).