Discouragement,  Faith,  Family,  Heart,  Hope,  Non-Fiction Story,  Soul

Are You Disappointed With God?

Last weekend my church celebrated our twenty-year anniversary by hosting a free community carnival. We’d planned the event for months and spent thousands of dollars on sending 15,000 mailers inviting our neighbors to attend not only the event, but a new message series beginning at church the following day.

As you know, after Dorian wreaked havoc in the Bahamas, he made his way up the coastline continuing his tirade in multiple states. We prayed for those devastated by the storm and also asked God to escort him out to sea and allow our event to happen. 

We live in Chesapeake, just south of Norfolk

On Thursday, our local school board made the call to cancel school Friday. Understandable. But what we couldn’t understand, was that they closed the schools for the entire weekend—meaning we couldn’t hold our service there on Sunday. What?! We had just sent 15,000 mailers (that figure was worth repeating) inviting the entire community to church at the school on Sunday. 

Front of our community mailer

When my husband received this news on Thursday at 4 p.m., he rushed to City Hall to speak to someone who could change that decision, but to no avail. He asked if we could hold our service outside on the school grounds. No—you must have a permit. Seriously? Work with us here.

Frustration and disappointment set in Thursday evening, along with the rain and wind. When the deluge continued throughout the night and into most of Friday, and then we lost power, we wondered if we’d even be able to have the carnival Saturday. 

When the rain ended Friday, my husband headed to the school to check out the condition of the grounds. Some disappointment about the school closure lifted as we reveled in the forecast for Saturday—beautiful sunny skies and temp in the low 80s. Perfect. Here’s the video he posted to Facebook letting everyone know the event was on. 

Yet, we still had to deal with what to do about Sunday service. My husband placed a call to our church office landlord about using a venue he’d showed us previously. The space is located in a shopping plaza and sits directly across from the school where our church meets. The room wouldn’t accommodate a large crowd, and we had no idea if we could set up a nursery and preschool area, but we pursued the possibility. Our only other option was to cancel church. The landlord said he’d get back to us.

We had a beautiful day on Saturday and joyfully served our community with multiple inflatables, pony rides, train rides, face painting, popcorn, sno cones, free hot dogs, great giveaways and more. About a hundred volunteers from our church served that day. Just so you know … that’s almost our entire congregation. What a blessing! You can check out the photos from the event HERE.

When guests asked about our church and where we meet, we had to tell them we weren’t able to have service the following day, but please come next week. I couldn’t understand why God had allowed this to happen. In our minds, holding the service on Sunday would bring Him glory and help build His kingdom. Why wouldn’t He want that to happen?

At two-thirty Saturday, thirty minutes before our carnival would wrap up, my husband received a call from the landlord confirming we could use the strip mall location on Sunday. Hershel announced the news to those who were still at the event, and we posted on our church website, shared on our Facebook page, and emailed the church family. We still didn’t know how many people we could fit in the space or if we’d have a classroom for the young ones, but we were having church in some form.

Sunday morning at 8 a.m., about six of us showed up to make a plan at our alternate location. The pictures below give you a visual of what twenty years experience as a portable church can pull off in a pinch. And we even had a small space for our preschoolers. 

We had 113 people in church that morning, including five visiting families we connected with easily due to the small space. Had we been in the school, I don’t think those families would have had the same experience of intimacy and welcome because most of our people would have been busy breaking down equipment rather than having the freedom to get to know the guests. Now we’re praying for a smaller meeting space to use every week.

So, what is the moral of this story? Trust God. When things don’t make a lick of sense to us, He’s got a plan. And His plan is always better than ours.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:8

As Christians, our responsibility is to be obedient and leave the results of our ministry in His hands. So many times I try to control the outcome. It’s wasted time and energy, and it’s not my job … and it’s not yours. So relax, give your worries to Jesus, and trust in His loving plan. 

Join the conversation. Do you try to control the outcome of situations in your life? How has that worked out for you? Do you have a story to share about a time you were disappointed and God came through with something even better than your plan? 

As a Jesus girl for more than thirty years, Deena Adams understands how important hope is to daily life, which fuels her passion to inspire others through hope-filled fiction based on true to life stories. She is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency and is a multi-award-winning writer, an active ACFW member, and ACFW Virginia president. Connect with Deena through her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


  • Judy Taylor

    Deena, I am delighted to read your blog about your celebration. The statement you made about looking for a smaller space is powerful. That is the absolutely the opposite direction most would think you would look to. Thank you and your husband for serving our Creator and Savior faithfully all these years. He knows the beginning from the end and knows what we need to bring Him glory. His way is certainly not our way!

  • Sharon K Connell

    Deena, what a joy that God made those arrangements for you. He knew what He would before Dorian was even named a storm. He’s the King of Kings.

    Ecclesiastes 8:4 Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?

    There isn’t enough space to tell you about some of the things that my Lord has done for me. My life today is a perfect example of that. But I learned a long, long time ago trying to control my own life and the situations that come about in it is not the answer.

    Proverbs 3: 5 & 6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

    If people would keep in mind that He is the King of Kings and start treating Him that way, they’d have an entire new look on life.

    • Deena

      Amen, Sharon! King of kings and Lord of lords! Proverbs 3:5-6 have been my life verses for thirty years. Thanks for your inspiring comments!

  • Tom White

    Total release to the Lord is an ongoing challenge. Saying I trust God is easy; truly and fully trusting Him is anything but. Think about it: We are instructed to let God set our schedule, create our daily and long-range plans, establish what careers we should pursue, where our finances should be directed, how our time should be spent. We are to let God handle our health, our relationships and even our hope.
    This is not to say we don’t have a role or any responsibility in these areas, just that we should want God to have the reins, to handle the heavy lifting. Doing this is antithetical to the selfish ways of thinking that come naturally to us and are promoted in society.
    The struggle is real.

    • Deena

      Absolutely, Tom! Always easier said than done, especially when life gets hard. And we certainly do have responsibility. Just as we wouldn’t have had church Sunday had Hershel not taken the initiative to call the landlord about the rental space. We walk a fine line between responsibility and control and sometimes the line blurs–at least for me. Thanks for joining the conversation!