Can God be disappointed with us?

I’ve heard of disappointment with God–as though I could ever find disappointment in an immortal, all-knowing God of infinite love and mercy who died for my wretched, filthy soul.  I have no question whether or not I might be disappointed with God–never.

But what about God?  Can He be disappointed with us?

But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames. (1 Corinthians 3:10b-15, NLT)

The phrase

escaping through a wall of flames

doesn’t sound like something I want to be doing.  It sounds like a moment of panic, awful realization, and–when the hand of Jesus pulls the believer out from a smoking life–the most embarrassing moment of a person’s life.

There is no doubt this will be a moment of great gratitude for the believer saved by grace . . but it will also be a moment of humiliation.

To enter the Kingdom of Heaven with empty hands?

This surely doesn’t sound like a moment where God will be proud.

I think sometimes we want so badly for this life to be effortless and God’s expectations to be nothingness, that we create a false image of God as always proud of us, always ready to applause, always there with a positive word.  But that’s not the God presented in Scripture.  And, if we’re really honest with ourselves, it would be terrible parenting.

A child defying his parents and bullying his brothers and sisters and hoarding all the toys doesn’t need to hear, “I’m so proud of you.”  That would be encouraging the monster (sin nature) to grow.  In the same way, we cannot and should not expect God to be proud of us when we are selfish with our time, talent, or money . . or when we behave in ways that disgrace His Name . . or when we mistreat each other.

God can be disappointed in us–but that shouldn’t really be the news.  The news should be, God can be proud of us.  The immortal, all knowing God of infinite love and mercy who has rescued us can still be proud of us!

I think about adopting a dog from the pound.  I am the one who rescues the dog, cares for the dog and does everything for the dog.  But what if my dog one day runs into traffic and yanks a child out of the way of an oncoming car?  Now I am also proud of my dog.

I want God to be proud of me–not to try meriting my rescue–because there’s no way to do that–or to try to repay God’s kindness.  But what I can do is show God how much I love Him by giving Him all my time, talent, and money . . exalting His name . . and bringing honor to others.  I want God to be proud of me.  Each and every day.  Not to earn His love, but because He’s worth it.

The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” (Matthew 25:20-23, NIV)

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