Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You delivered them. They cried to You, and were delivered; they trusted in You, and were not ashamed.
There I was: eyes closed, hands raised, completely absorbed in the worship and the amazing spiritual atmosphere of the church. A powerful move of God had hit this place, and I was determined to press in and get my healing. Full of faith, I prayed in the Spirit. Others also prayed for me. The Presence of God was so strong in that meeting. It was unlike anything I had ever seen. And then...
I mean it. Nothing happened.
I remember sitting on the floor after the meeting ended, sobbing into someone's arms. I was so disappointed. God was there! How could He not heal me? I had faith! I had prayed! And even if I had no faith, others were praying for me. What happened?
It was a hard lesson to learn, and it took me several years to recover. Years. Because I thought God healed. (He does.) And I had hoped He would heal me. But He didn't. Not that night.
Dealing with Disappointment
If you're human, you probably have a story similar to mine. Or know someone who does. The death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or a healing not received can do serious damage to our faith. Many Christians turn their backs on God after such events, and it's easy to understand why.
It's disappointing when God doesn't come through for us like we hope He will. Life rarely turns out as we expect, but it's especially difficult when what we're hoping for is something God says He will do in the Bible. What then?
Unmet Expectations Lead to Disappointment
At the time of that meeting, if you had asked me, I would have told you that I was in a place of complete faith and trust in God. I had every confidence that God would come through for me; after all, healing is a part of the atonement. (See 1 Peter 2:24.) It wasn't until years later that I realized my trust was not in God, but in my idea of what I thought God should do that night. Apparently, He and I had different ideas about what was going to happen!
Any counselor will tell you that anger and disappointment are rooted in unmet expectations. When I compared my expectations to God's for that night, I came up short. It was God's will to heal me, but not at that time, nor in that way. In fact, He was healing something else I didn't even know was broken: my misplaced trust.
A Decision to Trust
Take Naaman, for example. This commander of the Syrian army heard that there was a prophet in Israel who could heal his leprosy. (2 Kings 5:1-14.) He took a servant's advice and traveled, with the king's permission, directly to the door of the prophet Elisha, in Israel.
To his surprise, Elisha did not even come to the door, sending a messenger to him instead. "Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean." (2 Kings 5:10, NKJV.)
Sounds easy, right? Just take a few baths and you're healed! But Naaman became furious. Look at his reaction: "Indeed, I said to myself, 'He will surely come and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.'" (2 Kings 5:11.) In fact, Naaman was extremely angry that Elisha would expect him to wash in an Israelite river, instead of the "superior" waters of Syria!
Naaman's elaborate idea of what God should do got in the way of his healing. Unmet expectations gave way to anger and pride, and had his servants not intervened, Naaman's story would have ended without a healing, too. Thankfully, he repented and did as Elisha asked. When he followed God's plan, he was healed immediately. The key was his decision to trust God's plan instead of his own.
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.