…don’t drink the bitter waters…

What do you do when you are disappointed?

Can gratitude and disappointment coexist?

Is feeling disappointed a sinful emotion?

I don’t really know.  But I do know that walking around with a bruised soul because life hurts is a human experience. But disappointment? This is distinctively different.  Maybe because it involves being sad over something that just didn’t go your way but you have to accept it anyway?  It’s not necessarily that a wrong was done per se but that you feel wrong because God allowed a situation to unfold contrary to your happiness.

So can God disappoint us?

Can acknowledging Him and yet admitting to the bitter taste of recent events go hand in hand?

Is feeling disappointed in God’s seeming lack of consideration a sinful emotion?

I don’t really know.  But Ido know that men and women throughout history have walked around with soul bruises, disappointed by what they thought God wasn’t doing. “Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water.  When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.)  So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?” (Exodus 15:22-24)        

You are not alone in feeling disappointed when God seems to allow things to slip by and you are left with bitter water to drink.

How to deal with this very real emotion?  I can’t believe that God would create us with the capacity to experience a full emotional spectrum but maintain certain emotions to be shameful.  No.  Even God was disappointed in mankind many times over. (Genesis 6:1-6 is one example.)

I find that Christians don’t often like to admit to being disappointed because it seems as if God let them down.  I’ll be honest.  I’m disappointed right now but it is mixed with gratitude as well.  I’m grateful that I’m not where I was for so long but I feel like I’ve been led to a place with a bitter well to draw water from.  I know, you probably are saying, she isn’t trusting God enough. Her faith is faltering.  Ok, say that.

What do I do with the disappointment?

“Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink. There the LORD issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test. He said, ‘If you listen carefully to the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.’ Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water.” (Exodus 15:25-27)

I’m finding my answer. God’s response in these verses aren’t as much about what He won’t allow in my life but rather a lesson. God’s proclamation to not dispense diseases as He had brought to Egypt was for these people at that time, but His promises and principles are for all who call Him LORD.

When bitter waters is all there is to drink, don’t drink it. Call on God, He doesn’t want you to drink bitter waters either.

There is more than meets the eye. The situation is dim, dire maybe even, everything without God is. But even the most confusing, disappointing and fitful events are not final when God is involved. This story from Exodus reveals this.

To turn my bruised soul heavenward believing in my Miracle God is really the challenge. I don’t want the Miracle God sometimes.  I would have rather not been led to bitter waters in the first place.  Now that’s the truth.  Believing the Miracle God takes faith, a kind of vision without eye sight or clean circumstance. I don’t have that.

Disappointment reveals my humanity, my weakness, my ugly truth. I can’t see, spiritually. I want ease more than I want my Miracle God.

The Holy Spirit of God leads me to what Paul wrote in II Corinthians1:8b-10  “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.  Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us,”


Don’t drink the bitter waters.

Desire the water the Miracle God provides.

This is my big reality check.



  1. I have been wrestling with these same questions about disappointment with God. On one hand I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is good, that He loves me and that He allows what is best for me—not because it is painless (which I would prefer) but sometimes precisely because IT IS painful, and He uses that pain to take me down a path I would not normally choose; one where each step leads me closer to conformity to the image of Jesus. At the same time, the on-going pain of disappointment leads me to question Him. Why this? Why me? Why so long? Is there no other way You could teach me this lesson? I’m tired; could You please hurry? No sooner do I finish with my rapid fire questions and He quickly reminds me of His response to Job—”where were You when I laid the foundations of the earth?”—and I am humbled by my ridiculous pride. And so it goes, back and forth in my head, between acknowledging His sovereignty, resting in Him and trusting the work He’s doing in me and struggling and resisting against it and letting Him know just how I feel.

    Like you, I don’t really have any answers. All I know is that Ps.73:25 is true. Ultimately I have nothing but Him and, really when it comes right down to it, He’s all that I want and He’s more than enough. I’m so grateful for that. I just have to keep asking Him for grace for the moment, strength for the day and hope for tomorrow…oh, and for forgiveness for my pride that keeps me thinking that I know better!

    Thanks for disclosing your heart in this post, Randi. I’m thanking God for fellowship along this journey!

    Ps 73:
    21 When my heart was embittered
    And I was pierced within,
    22 Then I was senseless and ignorant;
    I was like a beast before You.
    23 Nevertheless I am continually with You;
    You have taken hold of my right hand.
    24 With Your counsel You will guide me,
    And afterward receive me to glory.
    25 Whom have I in heaven but You?
    And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
    26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
    But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
    27 For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;
    You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You.
    28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
    I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
    That I may tell of all Your works

    1. So well said Deb! I think that there are many who can relate to us both. I appreciate your honest and thoughtful words….resonating with “…the nearness of God is my good…” from the Psalm. Peace!

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