Sometimes We Discover God Amid Disappointment

by Debbie Wilson

My teenaged heart awoke to God while lying on my back on a dock staring at stars only visible to someone away from city lights. The smell of the marsh, the rhythmic lap of the river, and the chirping night symphony cast a spell that made me feel small, yet part of something magnificent. David surely felt this magic when he wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Ps. 19:1).

Abraham also felt it. “For the Scriptures tell us, ‘Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith’” (Rom. 4:3 NLT). Genesis says this happened while he gazed at the stars.

Abraham had just defeated four wicked kings to rescue Lot, and he’d given up his rightful monetary reward. Perhaps he worried these kings would seek retribution. Or, in hindsight, had he been foolish not to take his fair share of the booty? Maybe he was just worn out from battle. Whatever his state, God understood and said, “Don’t fear, Abraham. I am your great reward.”

Now, if God told you He was your great reward, how would you respond? Would you bow speechless and amazed? Would you leap for joy?

Abraham said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless?” (Gen. 15:2).

“What can you give me?” Whoa, Abraham. Do you know whom you’re talking to?

His reply reminds me of the little girl who prayed, “Thank you for the baby brother—but I prayed for a puppy.”

Did Abraham’s Frankness Offend God?

No. Abraham and God were close. Abraham didn’t need to fake a pious response. God understood his disappointment and longing for a son. He promised Abraham a son and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.”

Count the stars? Impossible! But Abraham gazed into the heavens anyway. The cold lump of disappointment melted as he watched new stars emerge. Belief warmed his core and spilled out in laughter and tears. Yes, he would become the father of many. The Creator, the One who spoke worlds into being, would do this.

“And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:5–6 NASB).    

Why would counting billions of stars help Abraham believe he would father a son? God gave Isaiah similar instructions. “Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing” (Isa. 30:26 NLT).

Abraham began to count the stars and was overcome. Nothing was impossible for the Creator of all of this. Scripture says he believed in God, and God counted his faith as righteousness.

The promise of a son was no longer remote when Abraham saw the size of God. The promise of great nations coming from an infertile couple was nothing to the Creator of the Milky Way.

In the end, God took Abraham’s weakness and turned it into a staggering promise. Not one heir, Abraham—billions.

What has discouraged you or left you feeling powerless? Have you brought your disappointment to God? Maybe it’s time for a little stargazing. Impossible problems are no problem for a big God.

O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens! Ps. 8:1 NASB

*Adapted from Little Faith, Big God, Leafwood Publishers

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Drawing from her walk with Christ, and years as a Christian counselor, coach, and Bible teacher, Debbie W. Wilson helps women give themselves a break so they can enjoy fruitful and grace-filled lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. Her latest book, Little Faith, Big God, was released in February 2020.

Little Faith, Big God: Grace to Grow When Your Faith Feels Small by [Wilson, Debbie]

Debbie and her husband Larry founded and run Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit counseling, coaching, and Bible study ministry. She is an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach. Debbie enjoys a good mystery, dark chocolate, and the antics of her two standard poodles. Refresh your faith with free resources at debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: Is there something in nature that speaks to you of God’s greatness?