Are You Disappointed with God?

(It’s been a year since I wrote about this heartbreaking experience, and the story’s changed quite a bit. Read the one-year update at the bottom of this post…)

Life is full of beginnings and endings. Lately, there have been too many endings, not enough beginnings, and I’m feeling severely disappointed with God.

I’ve been a Christian for decades. I’m constantly searching, finding, learning, and growing. Day-by-day, I am being transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. I feel I know God better today than any other time in my life.

And yet…

I still don’t understand God at all.

Although I feel disappointment with God, I’m trying to remember that there’s more to what we’re all going through than meets the eye…

Find freedom and hope when you're disappointed with God

Why I’m Feeling Disappointed with God

God is more of a mystery than ever.

I’m struggling to see His purposes in so much of what’s happened in the last year – a year of too many endings.

“Some people lose their faith because of a sharp sense of disappointment with God. They expect God to act a certain way, and God “lets them down.” Others may not lose their faith, but they too experience a form of disappointment. They believe God will intervene, they pray for a miracle, and their prayers come back unanswered.”

Disappointment With God, Philip Yancey, Copyright 1988, Zondervan Publishing House, p.18

I haven’t lost my faith, but I’m certainly disappointed.

Did you ever hear about how I prayed for a pet, and God said, “Yes?”

The story, in a nutshell, goes like this:

  1. We’d never had a pet before.
  2. My children wanted a pet.
  3. My husband didn’t want a pet.
  4. I prayed that God would send us a pet through my husband.
  5. A stray kitten soon walked into my husband’s shop and crawled onto his lap.
  6. We kept the kitten and named her Stevie.

Of course, the actual events of how Stevie walked into our lives were a lot more dramatic than that. (You can read the whole “Stevie” story here.)

There is no doubt in my mind that God answered my prayers and sent Stevie to us.

Stevie was a beautiful beginning.

Stevie opened a new chapter in our lives (that of being pet owners). She arrived during what felt like a season of blessing, a season of beginnings:

Oh, the joy of receiving a positive answer to prayer!

What a delight for my children to receive their first pet.

What thankfulness we all felt for God’s having arranged this special blessing for us.

Seasons of Beginnings and Seasons of Endings

The Christian life is an ever-changing phenomenon. It is made up of seasons – seasons that feel like polar opposites, yet somehow work together. These seasons build, one atop the other, to form the faith and character of the Christian.

Seasons of Beginnings

There have been seasons in my faith walk in which I have been full of energy, joy, and absolute abandon to whatever God would send my way. With full trust and confidence, I have been sure of the goodness of God.

These seasons feel like new beginnings. They are full of life and hope and promise.

They feel like the start of something big, something productive, something worthy of the effort required to remain faithful to Jesus Christ.

Seasons of Endings

Then there are the seasons of darkness, despair, doubt, and frustration.

These seasons feel like endings. They are full of disappointment and confusion.

I question God’s methods. I wonder why he hides himself and his plans from me. My heart feels betrayed, even while my mind knows he’s faithful.

The End of a Beginning

Exactly one year after she’d wandered into our lives, Stevie died.

She’d left the yard to go hunting, which wasn’t out of the ordinary. Stevie was wild at heart and would sometimes disappear for up to four days at a time.

After five days, when she still hadn’t returned, we grew worried.

After six, we began to pray.

After seven days, I began to lose hope.

“Please, Jesus, send her home. Help her find her way home,” I prayed.

He did.

On the eighth day after Stevie went missing, my husband found her lying in the back ditch. It was apparent that she was sick. Yet, somehow, she had managed to drag herself back home. She was starved, dehydrated, and couldn’t walk straight. She purred weakly when my husband picked her up.

I didn’t understand why God would allow our gift to suffer this way, but at least he had answered our prayers. She’d made it home. Plus, cats are resilient, so I hoped that after we got her some help, she’d be fine.

We brought Stevie to the vet. He guessed that she may have gotten into some sort of poison during her hunting adventure around town. He hoped she would perk up overnight with the help of IV fluids.

Stevie died at the animal hospital the next day.

Our gift was dead.

We mourned. It was unthinkable that she was gone.

I had believed that Stevie would be impervious to death because God had sent her to us. I thought she would stay in our family for years, entertaining us with her antics and causing us to love her more and more.

I was wrong.

Stevie was a beginning. Then, she was an ending.

Why? Why would God go through all that trouble to open our hearts in such an extraordinary way, and then let the gift die so soon after we’d received it?

I was so very disappointed. I’m still heartbroken.

Life is Unfair

We’re not the only family who’s had a beginning turn into an ending:

  • What of the soon-to-be mother whose joy is demolished with a miscarriage?
  • What of the teenage son who finally feels he’s bonding with his father, only to lose him to cancer?
  • What of the husband’s promotion at a company that goes bankrupt shortly thereafter?
  • What of the newly purchased home that burns down?
  • Or a season of joy that’s quickly followed by a terrifying diagnosis?
  • Or the young couple who discover that they can never have children of their own?

Where is God?

What purpose is there in these endings? Why must we struggle through the darkness of these seasons? Who can bear the pain?

Then the LORD said to Job,

“Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?”

Job 40:1

My experience has been that God often doesn’t seem to think it necessary to let me in on those answers.

“No, Lord, I don’t have the answers to these questions. Only you do.”

Growing Stronger

My children have asked when we’ll get another kitten. I don’t know what to tell them. I don’t know if we’ll ever have another pet.

The ending is still too raw for me to seek a new beginning.

The whole world has suffered many endings this last year. It feels like a year of disappointment and sadness, a season of endings. And I’m so very, very tired of endings.

A wise woman told me that through these challenges, we are growing stronger. I don’t like it, but I believe her.

So, although I feel disappointment with God, I’m trying to remember that there’s more to what we’re all going through than meets the eye:

“Saints become saints by somehow hanging on to the stubborn conviction that things are not as they appear, and that the unseen world is as solid and trustworthy as the visible world around them. God deserves trust, even when it looks like the world is caving in.”

Disappointment With God, Philip Yancey, Copyright 1988, Zondervan Publishing House, p.244

I’m holding to the promise that “those that hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Without clear answers, I continue to “wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” (Psalm 130:5)

Hope is on the Horizon

No matter what I’ve been through or what’s to come, I know this:

In my darkest valley of terror,

God has never abandoned me.

During storms of doubt,

God has always been faithful.

In the midst of my deepest pain,

the God of all comfort has comforted me.

What about you? Who are you putting your hope in? Who will you trust?

“Disappointment With God” and Freedom

I often talk about freedom. I do this because my desire is to inspire faith and freedom in you by sharing my stories of freedom in Christ.

But freedom doesn’t always come packaged in a pretty story.

Today, freedom looks like this:

Freedom is knowing that I can express my disappointment with God, and he can handle it. I’m free to be authentic with him.

Freedom is knowing that I don’t have to understand God in order to trust him. I’m free from demanding my own way.

Freedom is knowing that there’s hope on the horizon, that I will once again “see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13). I’m free in the hope of Jesus Christ.

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A Prayer For Hope

May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,

the Father of Glory,

give us the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him,

enlightening the eyes of our hearts,

that we may know what is the hope to which he has called us.

Lord, Lord, we need your hope.


(taken from Ephesians 1:16-18)

Update: One Year Later…

After grieving for several months over the loss of our dear cat Stevie, our family decided we were ready to try again. In the spring of 2021, we picked up Meg:

Meg has been a comfort and a healing blessing to our family.

She’s cuddly, playful, gentle, patient, obedient, and self-sufficient (which means she poops outside, not in the house!). We love Meg even more than we hoped we would.

I see now that we never would have experienced the joy of Meg if we hadn’t first received the gift of Stevie. Although we loved Stevie very much, Meg’s temperament has been a better fit for our family. I’m thankful to God that all things work together for our good. Sometimes, even through our pets.

With love, signature

20 thoughts on “Are You Disappointed with God?

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  1. I’m so sorry for the loss of Stevie. I agree, in situations like that it is so hard when we’re in so much pain and we don’t understand what God is doing. It’s comforting that we can come to him and be honest. I read the Philip Yancey book many years ago and really appreciated it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How beautifully you describe your experiences, Sara, your writing is very calming. Thank you for sharing your feelings. I can relate to those tough emotions and for most of my life have struggled with how to deal with disappointments and crises. Lately I have found strength and faith in praising God in the midst of them. A few years ago, I gave myself a challenge to not ask God for anything for 30 days, and instead to praise him continuously. It was life changing. It made me aware of his never ending wisdom, and the depths of his love for us as he molds us and builds faith in us. When my grandson had to have heart surgery when he was one day old, I said to my son, “Praise God, don’t stop praising him.” (Graciously, God gave us the blessing of health for this precious little boy.) Praise helps stretch our awareness of all the goodness and perfection of our glorious heavenly Father, and keeps us sane in crises. Thanks again for your blog! Ramona

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! Thanks, Ramona. This is a confirmation of something God’s been showing me over the past couple of weeks. That our strength lies in focusing on him, praising him, thanking him, relying on him. Two days ago, I was meditating on Psalm 63, which follows the same pattern: the Psalmist is desperate for God, feeling faint and dry and weary. He finds his strength and satisfaction by beholding God’s glory, remembering God’s love, blessing God, praising God, meditating on God’s help. This is something I’m trying to grow in. Praise God that he’s always bringing us to new levels of dependency and intimacy with him. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much for this post on disappointment, it encouraged my heart. I can relate so much to it and the feelings of wondering if God really does hear us and answer our prayers. I love how you shared the verse from Job. Job’s story is such a good reminder of being faithful to God in the seasons that don’t make sense to us ❀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, Sara. I am so sorry that Stevie’s life was cut short and that you and your family are left with frustrating questions. But oh my–the wisdom and maturity of your words here as you identify the strength, hope, and freedom that arises from our sorrows–when we know God. Well done and beautifully written!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh Sara, I am so sorry…I cried reading this, my heart aches for you and your family. Praying for the Father of hope to fill you with all hope and peace as you trust–and wait–on Him. *Hugs* ~Cassia

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for sharing from the heart. I’ve had some serious disappointments in my life and had my fair share of being mad with God. A turning point came for me though. I had been obedient. Following God. But I still ended up in a very unhappy situation married to an alcoholic. I blamed God. I was mad at Him but I refused to turn away from Him. And in that tough place He drew near to Me and I tasted His tangible love for the first time and I realized what it is all about. My joy, my fulfillment, my happiness is really supposed to be in Him alone and not in anything, anyone or any circumstance. I believe He gives and takes away and then gives again; gives freedom and then breaks us and then binds us up and sets us loose again; so that we let go of it all – all the happiness we hope to get from this world and realize that He IS our joy. In His presence is fullness of joy in any every circumstance no matter how tragic.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This hits home in my heart – a lot!. Freedom in Him gives me room to be me and know that I can approach Him with everything around me and in me – the emotions I feel. We really do not need to understand Him fully before we trust His good plans and intentions for us. πŸ™ŒπŸ˜ͺ
    Thanks for sharing your experience. πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow! What a post! So sorry to hear about the death of Stevie. Losing a pet is not easy as they are part of the family.

    I am not religious or attend any house of worship so I cannot address the religion question.

    Many use universe, higher source instead of God. I am respective of all terminology. I am spiritual oriented myself and use the term universe which we are all a part of.

    Whether we like it or not death is a part of the life cycle and we do not choose when it is our time unless we specifically choose to do so.

    Without β€˜not good’ we do not value or appreciate the good.

    May you and your family heal from the loss and move forward on the journey of life.πŸ’–

    Liked by 2 people

  9. So sorry about your pet. It is always a relief to know that He can take it; the disappointment and confusion and doubt and still call us deeper. I have also been disappointed and asked all the questions I could, some without answers…and left holding on to faith. The book seems like a good read, I’ll keep an eye out for it.

    Liked by 2 people

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