Like most of you, I was disappointed to hear that in South East Queensland we need to continue our restrictions for at least another week. I boldly proclaimed at our Wednesday morning service that I was looking forward to this Sunday with no compulsory masks and as many people in the church as could comfortably fit for the first time in what seems like a very long time… but alas it is not to be…
I think there are a lot of things in our world and culture that we typically don’t deal well with… disappointment is one of them. We live in a world where we expect instant gratification. If I want it, I should have it, if I can’t have it, then something is deeply wrong with the world. I am no saint in this respect. I have long realised that I am one of the least patient people that I know. Something that I’m sure frustrates those around me as much as I try to work on my weakness.
If I can see a wrong that could be made right, then I see no reason why we should wait – let’s fix it now. If I have an idea for a different way of doing things – then I want to road test it immediately. If I want a new guitar… well I have learnt some lessons there…
I often find myself feeling disappointed that others don’t share the same sense of urgency that I do. And there is so much going on in our world that we can find disappointment in. I mean just look at Wednesday’s State Of Origin game!
I have an expression that I use that I call ‘Stewart’s time’… that’s a world where everything happens the way I want, when I want and how I want it. I have come to learn however, that ‘Stewart’s time’ does not bear any resemblance to reality.
What has helped me, one of the most impatient humans that God has created, is the realisation that ‘God’s time’ is not my time and ‘God’s time’ is far more effective and impactful than ‘Stewart’s time’.
I don’t think that God creates obstacles, disappointments or disasters to slow us down or reset us to some kind of ‘God’s timezone’. Most of the obstacles, disappointments and disasters we see in our world have a clearly defined human, rather than divine, origin. The helpful thing I have realised is that God does not stop working and the possibility of God does not diminish in the face of obstacles, disappointments or disasters. In many cases this is when God can be most clearly visible.
Part of dealing with disappointment well is allowing our awareness of God at work and the possibility of God not to be hidden by our desire for us to have things the way we want them to be. God wants to work in and through us but God will continue to work despite our lack of awareness and despite our deliberate inaction. Disappointment can make us stuck or it can become a new opportunity.
We might still be wearing masks and have number limitations this Sunday but God is still at work and God is still possible. We are still God’s church and we should take yet another opportunity to see what God will do in and through us and those around us. It might not be what we want or expect but I am convinced it will be so much better if we allow our disappointment to be transformed by the hope we find in God.