Crying in the Restroom -- Comfort for the Disappointed

Like the good writers they teach us to be, writing conference directors love to build anticipation and suspense. This is why they save “what you’ve all been waiting for” for the final moments of the final meeting on the final day of the conference.

What we’ve all been waiting for, at least for many attendees, is the announcement that reveals who won the writing contests. I served on faculty at a conference recently where this was the case. The Miss America pageant had nothing on them as they slowly read the names of the winners.

“And the second runner up is . . . “

“And the first runner up is . . . “

“Now let’s give the history of this particular contest . . .”

“And talk about a few of the past winners . . . “

“And take a few photographs . . . “

“And finally, . . . the winner of the 2018 Best Novel Contest iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis . . . Katie Smithson.”

Clapping along with the rest of the audience, I stood to excuse myself. I needed to go to the bathroom. I'd been waiting for at least 30 minutes because I didn't want to miss the announcement. As the winner, shiny trophy and cash prize in hand, posed for pictures, I made my way to the nearest restroom.

A quick glance told me it was empty except for one stall. And in that stall stood a crying woman.

Her back was pressed against the closed stall door, and all I could see was her feet. But I heard her sniffling.

I knew immediately what was wrong.

She was one of the contest entrants – one of the ones who didn’t win.

I turned, eased the bathroom door open, and slipped out, respecting her desire to cry alone.

On the long walk to find another restroom, I prayed for her.

Lord, remind her that her writing is valuable. Strengthen her resolve to learn the craft and apply the knowledge she’s learned this weekend. Give her courage to open her computer again. Someday her writing may be good enough to win an award, but even if it isn't, remind her that the true prize doesn't belong to the most gifted or accomplished, but to the one who perseveres. Most of all, Lord, help her not to quit.

When was the last time you were disappointed? When you knew your hard work was about to pay off, only to discover it wasn’t good enough? When your coworker got the promotion, raise, or bonus you hoped to secure? When someone else’s child got the full tuition scholarship? When God answered your best friend’s prayer but seemed to ignore yours?

We’ve all had times when our hearts have broken in disappointment. When we’ve smiled through our tears at someone else’s success or good fortune or hidden in the bathroom to cry.

If today is one of those days for you, I want to pray for you. 

Father, wrap your big strong arms around my dear sister. Hold her close and let her sob into your chest. Then, when the tears slow to a trickle and the sobs subside to an occasional hiccup, speak truth into her heart. Remind her that your timing is perfect, and you will withhold no good thing from those who walk uprightly. Renew her hope. 

Give her courage to try again, and again, and again, if that’s what’s needed. If she needs another approach, give her James 1:5 wisdom to know what it is. If you have a different plan for her, help her recognize it and obey you. Give her faith to trust your timing, your wisdom, and, most of all, your heart. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray, Amen. 

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning,” (Psalm 30:5). 

Now it’s your turn. When was the last time disappointment made you cry? How did God comfort you in your pain? Leave a comment below and share your story. And if you’re reading by email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online and leave a comment.

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  1. Hi Lori, I’ve been sharing the gospel with a counselee over the last several months. Recently at the end of a session she told me that she had prayed to receive Christ when another lady from our church came to visit her. I was thrilled, but after I left her I cried. I was disappointed that I hadn’t been the one to pray with her. Disappointment quickly turned to self pity. Then I became disappointed in myself for being so selfish-centered. Shame set in until the Holy Spirit revealed my heart. Humbly, I confessed the ugliness of my soul. Joy returned. Sunday when this young lady was baptized in church the tears that streamed down my face were filled with gratitude. Praise God!

    1. Oh yes, the all too familiar roller coaster of our very human flesh. You’ve described it beautifully. And you’ve also described the powerful work of the Holy Spirit. I’m so glad he corrects us when necessary and uses us in his service even when we are frail and human. Congratulations on the birth of the new baby Christian and fornyour amazing part in it. As Paul said, “some planted, some watered, but God gave the increase.” Praise God!

  2. Oh so true. Coulda been me in that rest room on any number of days. Thank you for your encouragement to persevere. Same to you, Friend. :-)

    1. Oh yes. We’ve all stood in the stall. For every crying woman, maybthere also be a praying friend to lift her up. I’m so glad you didn’t quit. God has much more for you to do!

  3. Hi Lori, so funny to read this post now. This weekend my niece stepped up to the plate, and into the gap spiritually and I felt grateful, but also a little disappointed that I wasn't used by God in the situation. But I think I am too close to all that is going on and me stepping into the gap would be an interference rather than a godly intervention. We have to trust God for the outcomes whether we agree with them or not. Wise words
    God bless

    1. Amen, Tracy, you are absolutely right. And I have no doubt that your niece, in large part, stepped into the gate because she knew what to do because of the godly example of her aunt :) God bless us as we learn to serve faithfully and trust God with the outcome. Press on, sister. Blessings to you!

  4. The last time I cried behind close doors so that no one could see was when I failed my exam again. I was so disappointed since it was my third time. And shamefully I must confess I have not attempt to write that paper again for a year now. And always feel more ashamed when people asked me about when do you complete your diploma. But I was so mad and so disappointed in myself and in God that truthfully I am afraid to attempt it again.

    1. Klaar,
      I understand completely your disappointment. You were very courageous to have persevered enough to take it three times. For many years I wouldn't even take a chance on something I might not be the best at. Then I realized I was missing out on a lot because I was afraid to fail. What if I didn't fail? What if I would have succeeded, but didn't because I didn't try.

      My husband dropped out of school because of poor grades. We married, had children, and he thought that window of opportunity had closed forever. But the Lord wouldn't let him settle. One day he surrendered to the Lord's nudging and re-enrolled in school, taking one class. He got a B! That success empowered him to take another. It took him 4 years, but he finally earned his degree. It has opened up many opportunities for ministry and he loves to tellt he story of how God enabled him to finish. I pray the Lord will also inspire you, if that is his will for you. Thanks for reading and sharing your story.