We binge watch Netflix after our kids go to bed like every other good parent does. Our favorite fictional character, Harold (from Persons of Interest), put so perfectly into words the state of my heart at the end of every month,
“Hope is painful.”
It’s been almost a year now, since I’ve felt the nudging from Jesus to stretch out my withered hand (or barren womb) and let Him heal me. Stretching out my withered hand means admitting that I really want healing. That I’m not okay with spending the rest of my life with a body that doesn’t work the way God intended. Stretching out my withered hand means that I am vulnerable at the end of every month and most of the days between.
I can’t explain it. Why after all of these years, after all of the healing that took place in my heart, after finally being over it all, I can’t explain why He has asked me in this season to stretch out my hand. I just know He has. And I know that obedience leads to freedom. It also leads to intimacy. After all of these years walking through hard with Him, I’ve learned that He is both the Gift and the Giver. HE is the one I want. It’s Him. Only Him.
There’s no doubting His promise to me. I fully believe one day in a kairos moment, in due time, He will do it. But even with a faith that is linear, unmoved by what I see in the natural, my heart still feels.
Broken. Hurt. Disappointed.
Have you ever felt disappointed by God? Like He didn’t show up when you thought He should? Or He didn’t do the thing you were thinking He’d do? What do we do with that?
I’ve heard it described before as “heart sores.” And I think that’s a pretty accurate description. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desired filled is a tree of life.”
So how do we move forward with a sick heart when we feel God has disappointed us?
I have recently been enthralled by Mary of Bethany in the Bible. I’ve studied every passage of scripture she is even remotely mentioned. And I’ve noticed a common theme throughout her story. Every place she is mentioned in Scripture she is found at the feet of Jesus.
When Martha was scurrying around the house trying to be a good host, Mary is found at Jesus’ feet, listening to His teaching. Jesus even said she had chosen the best thing, and it could not be taken from her. Then we find her anointing Him before the Triumphal Entry. She comes in someone’s house, uninvited, breaks her alabaster jar (a whole year’s worth of wages), and pours it on His feet. She washes His feet with her tears and cleans them with her hair. She declared Him King, by anointing His head with oil, just as Samuel anointed David. She saw just a glimpse of His worth, and her only response was to pour everything out before Him. Then the last time we see her in scripture, is at the death her brother, Lazarus.
Mary loved Jesus. And Jesus loved Mary. Deeply. So when He didn’t come after the sisters sent word that their brother was ill, Mary was heartbroken. As soon she got word He had come, finally, she ran out of the house and fell at His feet, once again.
“Lord, if you had only been here my brother would not have died.”
Mary didn’t have a faith problem. She knew that Jesus would have healed Him. She was heartbroken, that He didn’t come.
When I keep asking Father for breakthrough, when I keep bringing Him this pain time and time again, it’s heartbreaking when I feel He doesn’t come.
Jesus saw Mary weeping, at His feet, and His heart was deeply moved. He started to cry. He wept. Not because his friend, Lazarus, had died. It would only take Him one word for Lazarus to live again. Jesus was weeping, He was deeply moved, by Mary’s broken heart. In her eyes, Jesus, the One she so loved, the One who was worth pouring everything out, showed up late.
He had disappointed her.
And it broke His heart.
It makes me think when I find myself on the bathroom floor, at the end of each month, broken hearted, that it must break His heart too. I’ve felt Him lately, lift up my head and say, “But I am going to come.”
Jesus actually stayed two days longer in the place that He was when He got word Lazarus was sick. He didn’t come, on purpose. Because the part that Mary couldn’t see, the part that broke her heart, was actually the pinnacle of the miracle.
In Jewish culture, the first day of grieving was strictly for immediate family, the second day extended family came to grieve. The third day spent grieving was with family and friends. And the fourth day, everyone came to grieve. Jesus waited until everyone was there to perform the miracle, so He could be glorified through it. Mary had already seen His worth, but on the fourth day, everyone else did too.
When my stomach starts to cramp, my heart sinks to my toes, and I feel disappointed by Him, I find myself trusting the heart of the Father. I stretch out my shaking, withered hand, once again, and just trust His heart. That He is for me. That His heart breaks because mine does. That He can see the fourth day coming, when I can’t.
And I know that He will come. He always does. And when He comes, it will be bigger than me. It’s bigger than just my story, or my family’s story. When He comes, it’s to display His glory, on the fourth day, when everyone can see His worth.
If you feel disappointed by God, just trust His heart. Know His heart breaks because yours does. And know that He can see the fourth day, even when you can’t.
And know He is coming for you.
He always comes.
*Photos by Sophie Brendle*
I made this bracelet for myself to trust His heart in the waiting. You might like it too.
If this post spoke to deep places in you, would you share it so it can do the same for others too?