It’s What We Do With Disappointment

During the time today that I haven’t been eating or walking on the beach or watching old movie reruns, I’ve been reading bloggers’ takes on the election outcome. Basically everyone is saying the same thing: Now that it’s over, if Barack wasn’t your candidate, you’ve got to suck it up and pray. And dadgummit, I agree.

The question I’m left with now is what to do with this lingering disappointment. It’s hard not to feel guilty for harboring this emotion when I read how ‘good Christians’ shouldn’t. That if I don’t jump on board that I’m being divisive – or even worse – racist.

Let me make one thing clear before I move on: I could care less if our next President is green with pink polka dots if he (or she) is godly. I do not have a prejudiced bone in my body against any race or creed. To attribute my emotions to the color of a person’s skin or their political party is far too simplistic. No, my funk is much more complex than that. And as for singing kumbayah with the new administration, that remains to be seen. I can fulfill my obligations to pray for our leaders and obey the laws of the land without throwing in full enthusiasm to a godless government if it in fact proves to be so. Did Paul glaze over in feigned support for Nero? Did John unite with Domitian? Don’t give me grief by assuming I’m making unfair comparisons. My point is that we are not obligated to yoke with leaders who do not share our faith nor participate in the idol worship that is currently taking place.

The question I’ve asked myself today is this: Do I have the right to be disappointed? If yes, then for how long and to what end?

To the first part of this question, I wholeheartedly conclude it is not a sin to be disillusioned with the direction in which we’ve just watched our country turn. There is nothing wrong with grieving the fact the most powerful man in the land is an avid supporter of everything Christians stand against – or should. It is okay to be upset that the President-elect who claims Christianity never mentioned God in his victory speech but was quick to thank homosexuals who stood in line to vote for him. It is acceptable to be disturbed to hear grown men describe Obama as a ‘beautiful man’ and ‘the hope of our generation’. There should be no stigma on me for vocalizing the sorrow I feel for the hard battles that lie before us. I’m not saying the issues our government faces would be solved easily or at all with McCain, but there was some small comfort in hearing him proclaim (without stuttering or stammering) where he stood on basic questions of life and liberty.

For me personally, it is important to speak the truth of my thoughts and not simply allow you to think I have some level of piety that allows me not to be saddened by all this. With that said, even though I want to get my heart out in the open, I refuse to get comfortable in this place. Disappointment must never give way to despair.

This passage is speaking volumes to me as I ask God to comfort my heart. Hear what Paul says in Romans 5:1-5:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

Do you notice the progression of hope? Tribulation produces long suffering. Long suffering results in proven character. And once we’ve been found faithful in Christ and He has once again proven Himself faithful to us, then we are granted hope. Contrary to Oprah’s belief, hope did not win this election. We do not exult in a mere man no matter what his political party or religious affiliations. We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God! One thing is certain, no matter what events befall this nation or this earth, the pre-eminent LORD will be glorified and magnified and reign supreme. Now that is someone in whom we should place our faith.

So what’s next? Absolutely we pray for our nation, the President elect, and his family. We ask God to thrill us with some holy surprises when we’ve wrongly assumed the worse-case scenario. We rejoice because these conflicted emotions and trials and heartaches produce a hope we never could have experienced otherwise. We consider ourselves blessed because today, our candidate or not, we still live in a great nation free from tyranny, famine, and pestilence. I have no doubt our future president will work diligently to preserve all these things on our behalf.

Above all, we put a limit on our disappointment. Why? Because true, appropriately-placed hope does not disappoint. It’s not evil to feel this way temporarily. It is the danger of sustained cynicism and despair that we avoid at all costs. I gave myself 24 hours to wallow. This is the 23rd hour and my time is up. Consider this my final purging.

You’re welcome.

Standing firmly in Grace,