ARE YOU DISAPPOINTED?

O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
    How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
    with sorrow in my heart every day?

Psalm 13, verses 1 and 2; from the New Living Translation

Have you ever been disappointed? With others? Sure! With yourself? Absolutely!!! But let’s dig a bit deeper this morning and answer me this: Have you ever been disappointed with God? Now, don’t be afraid to answer my question honestly. No one is listening to your thoughts. Have you ever been disappointed with God? Don’t deceive yourself, or be afraid that if God hears your honest answer He will be disappointed with you. And if it helps you to be honest, David was called a man after God’s own heart; by none other than God, Himself. And he was disappointed with God.

No one knows for sure what prompted David to write this song. It may have been after King Saul tried to kill him. Maybe it was after his son Absalom led that coup` that resulted in David fleeing for his life. But the circumstance really doesn’t matter. Point is, David felt disappointed with God. And your circumstances really don’t matter. Sometimes life happens in a way that results in us feeling like God has abandoned us; even though we’ve been faithful to Him. Your spouse left you. The cancer didn’t go away. The prodigal didn’t come home. The job wasn’t given to you. And pastors, the church announced you weren’t needed anymore. And if your a United Methodist, our leaders continue to lead with apostasy and heresy.

Causes don’t really make a difference when we are disappointed with God. But I want you to spend this day thinking about the disciples of Jesus–at a particular moment. And that moment is Friday evening. You know–that Friday evening after the death of Jesus on that cross. And it’s easy to see why they must have been disappointed. For 3 years they had followed Him, listened to Him (though not completely), watched Him. Surely He must have been The Messiah. But Friday happened. John’s description to the others about how Jesus looked on that Cross must have been appalling to them. From all appearances, life had crashed in a thunderous BOOM! Not the way they thought it would work out. Disappointed would have mildly described how they felt. Maybe you, too.

But life goes on. Ever really noticed that? Life goes on? Then next day was. . . Saturday! But Jesus was still dead. All day long on that Saturday, Jesus was in that tomb! And life went on. It’s a good thing that life went on for them. Because the day after Saturday was, you guessed it, SUNDAY! And Jesus was alive–The Conqueror of Death. And though they didn’t quite grasp it all that Sunday–they came to understand. That Sunday turned their disappointment into great joy and hope–and better yet, it gave them their message.

And can He do the same thing when you are disappointed, even with God? You bet He can! Yes, He can! Better still, He does!

What’s Your Synergy?

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Philippians chapter 3 verse 14 from the New Living Translation

Think about this: Energy produces synergy; and synergy produces energy! Perhaps I should take a step back and share the definition of synergy: the interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. Maybe I’m the only one this morning thinking about that word synergy. But YOU, think about it. Synergy is producing the energy that keeps your house with light, a/c, and such going. Think about hydroelectic energy. Water flows throw a turbine, the turbine spins against that thingy, and electricity happens. Or think about your vehicle. The gas (or diesel as the case may be) in the fuel tank is drawn up to the engine–then that computer kicks in pulling all the components together–and off you go to wherever. Remove just one part of these processes and the energy ceases to exist. What does this have to do with The Kingdom Life? Good question! Great question!!!

There is a synergy in every person; it comes from seeking and wanting life as they want it to be. That’s the point: Wanting life as they want it to be. They know they can’t get there by themselves so they seek other sources to cooperate with them to that goal. That energy forms synergy and that synergy forms more energy. When it comes to the human life and human heart, where we seek cooperation or help matters. For that source ultimately determines success or failure.

Some are seeking cooperation with the world’s value system; allowing the world to tell them what they need. It might be money, power, fame, or even sex. We see this synergy happening within my beloved Tribe, the United Methodist Church. Many believe that the Bible needs to be changed–or at least how we see the Bible–so that some might achieve what they believe will give them life. Cooperating with the latest pop psychology, the latest cultural trends is what many in our leadership believes will produce that synergy and energy that will reduce decades of decline.

The synergy that will produce the energy for the life we are created for is as Paul declared in today’s passage: through Christ! The synergy is found as we cooperate with Him through The Bible and with The Holy Spirit. For this synergy to work we must cooperate with God. You see, God doesn’t cooperate with us. He works ON us; IN us; and THROUGH us–never, never does He COOPERATE WITH us. WE cooperate with HIM! HE shows us what we need to achieve real and abundant life. And it’s all found in The Bible. But we also need the Presence and the Power of The Holy Spirit! Without The Spirit we end up with the form, but it’s void of the substance.

So, if you are finding your life missing some things–maybe even void of life–then do what Paul did–develop the synergy by cooperating WITH HIM that creates the energy which in turn produces the life, the ONLY life that fills us with peace, joy, and hope. And so much more. So VERY much more.

THE MORNING AFTER

Well, it seems that another National Championship wasn’t in the cards for The Crimson Tide. And the morning after? Here’s what I noticed. The Sun still rose. There was no Zombie apocalypse. The mountains didn’t collapse. There is no anarchy in the streets. My family and friends are still around. We have winter weather here in Alabama (which is still subject to change). Wall Street didn’t crash. The electrical grid didn’t fail. In short, life goes on. As I knew it would when I went to bed last night at 11:00 p.m. CST.

This is the nature of life on this orb called Earth. But serious things can happen to us and around us that may cause us to ask that question: “How can I go forward? How can I face The Morning After?” It may be the loss of income; the diagnosis of cancer; coming face to face with dementia in a loved one; your vehicle dies and leaves you without transportation; your spouse leaves; a family member dies; a close friend betrays you; you give in to temptation and the guilt is eating you alive. Or any of a countless number of things that leave us feeling crushed, guilty, disappointed, doubtful, hurting, or confused.

The Morning After can, I said CAN, result in the loss of peace, joy, purpose, and hope. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, there is another way to face The Morning After. Regardless of what caused it, or how we feel The Morning After, we have a choice in how we deal with it. If it is some sin you committed, choose 1 John 1:9–“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” If it’s feelings of abandonment by God, choose Psalm 23:4–“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.  Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” If it is doubt, then choose Philippians 5:6–“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

Every “The Morning After”, God has a promise for you. In His Promises are the means and the strength to get through to that other side. The causes do not define the outcomes for us. The outcomes are chosen by us. Make sure that your choice is to run back to God, and cling to Him as if your life depends on Him. Because it does!