This past week, it happened again. I felt disappointed in a situation I thought might resolve itself another way. When it didn't, I could feel the wedge in my heart growing separating me from people as well as from the Lord. Disappointment in itself is not a sinful emotion. It is what we do with it when it comes that makes all the difference. In my case, I knew I would have to begin working through my emotions and taking them one by one before the Lord. It would be so easy to lash out or to build resentment, but that is not profitable for me as a child of God. I am only hurting myself. So then, how do we process our way out of the emotions of loss?
Most of us have experienced disappointment at one time or another. Not getting that job we wanted, not having enough money to pay our bills after we worked extra hours, or not being able to kick a habit successfully can all lead to a feeling of disappointment. What we need to remember is that in God's Word, there are abundant examples of God's people who went through storms of disappointment. Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah and Elizabeth were all faithful women of God who desperately wanted children. Day after day, and hour after hour, they cried out to God in their disappointment at being childless. However, if you finish reading their stories, God did answer them at just the right time.
Then, we need to think about Joseph and Job. If ever two men had reason to be disappointed, it was these two. Joseph's own brothers sold him into slavery. As for Job, all that he had was taken from him as God allowed testing in his life. Once again, however, if we finish the stories in the Bible, what a difference it makes. God raised Joseph up to a position of influence and power for just the right time when his people needed assistance, and God restored to Job everything that he had lost. Reading these accounts in the Bible shows us how God, in His divine timing, provided the solution to the disappointments. Now, step back and think with me on something.
Here we are, in the middle of disappointment over an event, a person, or a situation. We do not know how all this will end. Guess what? Neither did Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth, Job or Joseph know how their situation would end when they were in the middle of it either. God has given us the gift of His Word so we can see how He worked in the middle of their disappointment. He does this to show us that no matter how bleak things may look right now He has a plan which He will perform at the right time. We may not be able to see it, but we can trust Him and know He is at work.
If we allow disappointment to wedge itself into our lives, we are opening a door to Satan. Disappointment can lead to discouragement, disillusionment, depression and then defeat if we do not stop it. How do we do that? We need to praise the Lord. I Thessalonians 5:18 reads: "Give thanks in all circumstances." Praising God for His unseen work in our lives leads to stronger faith and relief from disappointment. After all, the Lord is not done with us yet as long as we walk on this earth. Tomorrow brings new mercies from God, and what seemed like a defeat today can be a resounding success given God's time and providence.
People will disappoint us and so will circumstances in life. Our expectations often get us into trouble because we think that we should live a trouble free life. However, Jesus made it clear that in this world we will have trouble. But He didn't leave us there. He went on to say that we should rejoice because He has over come this world. Our attitude needs to be like that of the prophet Habakkuk who when he learned that his country would be destroyed by Babylon chose to find his joy in the Lord. He wrote:
"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there is no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord. I will rejoice in God my Savior" (Hab. 3:17-18).
How do you handle disappointment? What scriptures give you comfort? I delight in hearing from you. Please leave a comment.