Just about didn’t write this and frankly haven’t had the inspiration to write anything after a fairly serious season of disappointment and mild depression. A brother in the faith and one of my pastor-mentors I think called me out on the idea of NOT putting this to “paper”…here goes…
Disappointments…we all experience them. Some of us handle them better than others…I put myself on the end of struggling more with my disappointments (regardless of whether big or small). So we know they’re coming why then the surprise?
Being a bit analytical let’s connect the fact that disappointments happen when we have some level of expectation that something will go/happen a particular way and it doesn’t. I also think that we need to be honest and maintain perspective on the severity of the disappointment. I have family and friends that have suffered true disappointment in the form of a spouse, child, parent, sibling dying – I haven’t experienced this personally…cannot imagine their pain.
We all have expectations though and maybe it would be good to review what God has said to us in His Word about them and the disappointments they’re at times connected to.
22strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22)
8We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; (2 Cor 4:8-9)
Trials (a type of disappointment) can come in different forms – we can experience physical, mental, and/or spiritual trials…these are at times multifaceted but the outcome is always the same for us as believers – for it to develop a God-honoring characteristic in who we are that will then be used for Him.
12Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. (1 Pet 4:12)
It is a guarantee that disappointments are coming – we need to expect them; rejoice in them (difficult to do and yet exactly what our Lord commands…not suggests); evaluate them and entrust them to God.
2Count it all joy, my brothers,b when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
Disappointments should be met with a certain ‘joy’ for what they will cultivate in our life. I for one am sincerely pleased at the thought of a movement towards steadfastness (staying on course no matter what) and the development of a more stable and God-glorifying character.
29For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, (Phil 1:29)
There is a purpose in our disappointment – the connected suffering is actually a form of grace that will bring with it power and an eternal reward. We might not experience these (power/reward) immediately but that which God promises are signed, sealed and delivered.
2Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal 6:2)
Dealing with disappointments is meant to happen in community. It grieves me deeply when I think of all the believers that have been shouldering their troubles by themselves…we weren’t made for that model. I don’t know where I’d be if not for my family in Christ that have come along my side in my time of disappointment and truly walked with me.
17For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Cor 4:17-18)
There’s no better illustration to keep in mind than the dot and line…the disappointment is so infinitesimally small compared to what’s to come we need to be living now for another world.
GBU – Phil 3:12-21