The ‘Let Down’ Factor: A Christian Perspective

What happens to you when something planned goes awry?

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Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes

Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes

The Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes is the Minister of Maple Grove United Church, and is a member of the Interfaith Councill of Halton. A chatty extrovert with a conversational preaching style, a multi-tasker who is a “multi-worrier” when it comes to caring about people’s problems, and a leader who treasures teaming with the lay people in her church, Morar says that at Maple Grove she has experienced “a deeper level of ministry than I thought possible.” Anyone who has personally received Morar’s deeply compassionate caring and wise counsel will testify to what an inspirational, healing and encouraging ministry it is.

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You anticipate a great meal at a favourite restaurant, ordering the same food you loved last time. You bring friends to whom you have raved, and convince them to order the same thing. The meal is a total disappointment.

Kristin Espinasse, in her blog, “A Day in a French Life”, is attempting to cope with what she calls the “Let Down Factor” by retraining her brain to turn negative reactions to disappointments like these into positive ones.

  • That may work with a below par meal, but it’s much more difficult with the big disappointments:
  • illness,
  • loss,
  • brokenness,
  • betrayal.

Why me?

These are all huge challenges we face. And often the catastrophes of our lives cause us to cry out to God, ‘Why me?’

What now?

Well, if it is possible to retrain our brains, here’s a challenge: instead of asking, ‘Why me?,’ try asking, ‘What now, God?’

It’s tough to take yourself in hand and ask what God expects of you just when you are reeling with disappointment. If you’re honest, a lot of that disappointment is directed toward God.
‘God should have . . .’
‘If only God had . . .’

It takes a lot to leave behind those thoughts that you believed were sustaining you:

  • If I’m good, God will reward me by giving me what I pray for.
  • I know what God should want for me.
  • I know what God thinks.
  • I’ve sacrificed for you, so I deserve this.
  • Bad people get what they want

As another blogger, Jack Zavada, writes, asking “What now, Lord?” instead of “Why, Lord?” is a hard lesson to learn.

“It’s hard to ask the right question when you’re feeling disappointed. It’s hard to ask when your heart is breaking. It’s hard to ask “What now?” when your dreams have been shattered.”

Christ has been there

When you think you have it bad, remember Jesus
was perfectly good
put his life totally in God’s hands
had an insider’s knowledge of what God thought
made the ultimate sacrifice
and was killed by bad people.

Recognizing the frustrating hiddenness of God’s will for our lives takes a lot of spiritual maturity. But it can also be freeing. Yes disappointment still exists, but opening yourself to the possibility of God working in you as you move into the future, … may just change your life.


By all means, complain when you are disappointed. Complain to God, like Job, like the Psalmist, like the people in the wilderness. Complaining to God is not only acceptable, it’s Biblical!

Listen for God’s answer

But don’t leave it there. God will listen, but if you ask the right question, and practice listening for God’s answer, God will give you what you need to move ahead, to reclaim your life, to recover from disappointment, for “each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” (Ephesians 4.7)

“What now, God?”

And if you can’t find the answer to this question, through another person, or scripture, then perhaps attending a place of worship and really listening for God’s word for you might just be the answer. And you’ll be with others who are seeking to answer the same question and trusting in the same Source for the answer.


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