Monday

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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