Jonathan Merritt, at RNS, opens his article with this and I wonder what you would tell someone who asked you this?
A friend of mine who was raised in a fundamentalist home told me a disturbing story recently. One Sunday morning, the youth pastor at her Southern Baptist Church passed out three-inch galvanized nails to all the students in his care. He instructed them to keep these in their pockets at all times. Whenever they had an impure thought or disrespected their parents or sinned in any way, he told them to place their hand into their pockets and poke the nail into their finger.
“That way you’ll be reminded of the pain your causing God,” he said, “and you’ll know how disappointed He is with you in that moment.”
The spine-tingling actions of this minister raise an important question: does God get disappointed with us?
The two elements that comprise disappointment are surprise and frustration. Accepting the first—that God is surprised with our most tragic failures—tests our belief in His sovereignty. God knows the events that will unfold tomorrow, and they never take Him off guard. Additionally, He created our “inmost being” (Ps 139:13) and knows our hearts better than we do. We cannot take God by surprise.
But what about the frustration element of disappointment? Is God angry or frustrated with us? The theological roots of this belief run deep.