I know I’ve written about this topic once before, but I really felt like this was something I needed to talk about once again.
There’s a modern worship song that drives me crazy. I mean, most of the song is fine, but there’s this one section that says over and over, “You’re never gonna let…You’re never gonna let me down…”, and I’m here to tell you, loud and clear: Yes, God will absolutely let you down, so you better get ready to deal with it when it happens.
Here’s why that song lyric bothers me so much – because it sets people up with an unrealistic expectation of their faith in God and basically guarantees that many of them will fall away from their faith as soon as something unexpected happens.
Let me explain.
See, disappointment with God is part of our faith. It’s what happens when we have a certain expectation of something we believe God will or should do and then God doesn’t do that thing.
In other words: We expect God to zig and then God zags. What we’re left with is a huge disappointment and the very strong feeling that God just totally ripped us off – let us down – and failed to live up to our expectations.
Trust me, if God hasn’t let you down yet, just give it some time and it will totally happen. I promise you.
In my own life, this has played out in several ways. For example, the first time this happened to me I was in High School. I had met this amazing girl and I was convinced that she was “the one” for me. I was already fantasizing about our wedding day, our children, where we would live, etc.
And my expectations were totally grounded in a series of miracles surrounding our relationship that I was convinced all but assured me that God was totally signaling His approval of my assumptions of matrimonial bliss.
But then she broke up with me.
At that moment, I realized that God had tricked me. God had engineered this elaborate ruse to convince me that she was the woman I was going to spend the rest of my life with – compounded by this series of miraculous events that had surrounded our relationship.
And then, God just pulled the rug out from under me and made me look – and feel – like a total fool.
God let me down. Big time.
So, I spent the next year of my life in total and complete rebellion. I was so angry. I refused to pray. I stopped reading my Bible. I found a new girlfriend quickly and tried to drown my pain in this shallow relationship.
And this wasn’t the first time I experienced this sort of disappointment with God. Not by a long shot.
God has let me down over and over again in my life. And I fully expect God to continue letting me down.
Here’s why: God let’s me down when my expectations don’t match God’s actual plan and purpose.
So, inevitably, my expectations are misaligned with what God may or may not be doing in my life.
There’s a great chance that God really isn’t even “doing” anything other than walking with me through these experiences in my life and my tendency to blame God, or even to credit God, with this event or that experience may be entirely misguided.In other words, maybe God doesn’t make stuff happen or control my life. Maybe God just walks beside me as I experience my life. Maybe God wants me to stop assuming that there are formulas for my life. Maybe there are no formulas. Maybe God is not pulling any strings at all.
I’m not sure. But there is something I am totally sure of: God will let you down. God will zig when you expect God to zag. So, we need to stop singing songs that falsely promise people that God won’t ever fail to live up to our expectations. God will totally do this. It’s not even a question.
Rather than blame God when things don’t go our way, perhaps we should simply trust that God never leaves us, even when life disappoints us, and that God is always working to bring good out of our bad experiences, if at all possible.
I think that’s worth singing about.
Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife are returning to El Paso, TX after 25 years, as part of their next adventure.