Continuing to expect Jesus’ healing here and now is often harder than writing it off as unrealistic or something to be awaited on the other side of death. Everywhere I travel lately I meet people and communities crippled by disappointment.
A man in Iceland prayed for days that his sister would come back to life after a drug overdose. A pastor of a church in the UK died of cancer in spite of massive prayer efforts. A close friend’s Pakistani Christian friend who advocated for minorities was gunned down in Islamabad in March. I myself have been discouraged by the slew of revenge killings in a Honduran community dear to my heart—and now by a close friend’s decline in a long prayer-bathed battle against cancer. What disappoints do you have, small or big?
“How many of you have been disappointed by God?” I asked a group of inmates back in July. Many were honest enough to admit frustrations at God not apparently answering prayers: their girl friends’ refusal to turn away from drug habits or the courts denials of their requests to be admitted into drug court rather than going straight to serve long prison sentences. Others were afraid to admit their disappointments—especially at a time when they really need God’s help. Many assume that being honest with God might get you on God’s bad side.