Disappointment is inevitable. That is because life can never consistently live up to our expectations. I have a friend who involved in church ministry for many years. However, one day without knowing what his wife had in mind, he took his boys for a fishing trip and the wife decided to stay and do some work at home.
At the end of the day, they came back and realised that mum was not at home. The first thought that comes to mind she was out shopping. A few minutes later he saw a piece of note left in their lounge room. In this piece of note the wife wrote these words, “The marriage is over.”
She walked out on him and the children. He was shock and upset about what has happened. He did not understand why and how this has come about.
This is a painful experience for him and the children. The disappointment he felt was engulfing. He could have turned to alcohol, bitterness, revenge, or another woman’s arm, but he turned instead to the comforter. He drew closer to the Lord and let Him provide relief from his complex feelings of guilt, resentment, failure, and depression.
He relied on God’s unfailing love and steady hand through the dark times of struggles as he curved out a new life for himself and his children. He declined to sit in the darkness of unforgiveness, but instead walked a step at a time in the light of the Lord.
He refused to allow his disappointment with the way things turned out to shadow his life for years to come. Eventually he was able to find happiness again.
Today, he is still a single father and a renowned conference speaker who through his testimony encourages hundreds of people to rise above their disappointments.
Life certainly doesn’t always turn out the way we imagine it will. When it doesn’t, how can we survive the disappointments? How can we get through those dark times? Often our greatest times of disappointment come when someone fails us, or we at least feel that they have.
People can hurt us deeply. Sometimes they know what they are doing, while other times they’re only doing the best they know how to do with the tools they have. In either case, the level of fulfilment and happiness we experience in our lives doesn’t depend on other people; it depends on God.
Of course, we do rely on other people for certain things, and it’s painful when they let us down. But the ultimate success or joy of our life should not depend on them. We don’t have to prolong suffering over what others do or don’t do to us, because ultimately our reward is in God’s hands.
It’s also seriously disappointing when we believe we have failed in some way, perhaps due to our own carelessness or in spite of our best efforts. Or we think we have failed when we really haven’t at all. And we sit in darkness over it, torturing ourselves. The regret and condemnation pounds us down like a giant sledgehammer to our soul. “If only I hadn’t…” “If I just would….” “Why didn’t me……” It’s a weight we can’t carry and were never meant to.
Even when we have to bear the consequences for the wrong choices we’ve made, God still on our side. “When I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me” (Micah 7:8). How wonderful it is to know that even in a darkness of our own creation, God still there and so is His light.
I think that’s what makes us love Him most. We realise how little we deserve it and how far short of His glory we fall, yet He loves and accepts us anyway. Even in our greatest depth of failure, God brings good out of it as long as we reach humbly to him. We make mistake in expecting too much from ourselves, other people, and life, when our expectations should be from God.
God often allows hard things to happen in our lives in order to bless us in some way. If we are willing to allow for that possibility in everything that happens, it saves us from being devastated by people and situations that are ultimately going to be used for God’s glory.
If we surrender our disappointments to God and say, “Be my light and lead me through this, Lord,” His work will be accomplished faster. But if we wallow in the darkness of bitterness, casting blame upon God and other people, we end up suffering more.
When Moses brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, they had to choose to God’s way. In their bondage under Pharaoh, they didn’t have to make choices; they only had to do what they were told. Instead of choosing to see God’s hand in the moment, they blamed Moses and God for everything that disappointed them. As a result their suffering prolonged.
Oswald Chambers says, “The agony of a man’s affliction is often necessary to put him into right mood to face the fundamental things of life.” When disappointing things happen to you, ask God to help you discern His truth about what you are experiencing. Ask Him to reign in the situation instead of your feelings. It’s easy to go with anger or hurt, but far more rewarding to find God’s blessing in situation instead.
It pleases God when you have faith enough in the midst of your disappointment to put your hope and expectations in Him. When you experience disappointment, do not turn into the arms of bitterness or unforgiveness. Run to your Father’s arm instead so He can hold and sustain you.
If you will maintain a humble, submitted, faith filled, expectant heart, you will see God’s goodness manifest in the midst of all that’s happening to you. He will use this experience to bring you closer to Him, and your greatest treasure will be a deep sense of His presence. He will make things right, and He is the only one who can. Remember that no matter how dark times of disappointment become, God is still your light. Walk in the light He gives you.
By Rev. Eric D. Maefonea