I’m fairly safe in saying that you’re going to be disappointed in something or someone this year. I think it’s inevitable that disappointment will come to you and me. People disappoint you. The circumstances of life will do that. We might even disappoint ourselves with some of the decisions or bad actions we do ourselves.
So they come and go as we grow in our teenage years, the friendships we lost, sporting failures at high school. Perhaps the awards we don’t win, romances are gone. And then we come into adulthood and our disappointments continue to chip away. The jobs are frustrating. Perhaps our marriage is crumbling. All the goals that we’ve never achieved, the way with children, lingering illness. It’s almost as if, you know, disappointment is part of what it means to be human. So the question to you today is –
Are you disappointed?
And I’m wondering if most of our disappointments stem from three false attitudes that we have or we project on our own lives. Now I’m thinking the first reason we’re disappointed is because we look for happiness in the wrong places. You know, we’re not content with what we’ve already got. We never count our blessings. We want more. We want life to be more glamorous, more fun, more exciting. And no matter what we get, it’s not enough.
We’re caught in this perpetual cycle of wanting more, and one of the great and important keys to living a fulfilling life and moving forward is being able to overcome those disappointments.
Actually, disappointments can be a strong obstacle to letting go of the past. Until you let go of the past, I don’t think you can appreciate the present or get ready for the future, and that feeling of disappointment hangs around. And you can’t take the appropriate step to move up to what you want and should do. So I’m saying that disappointment is a hard pill to swallow.
I heard of a girl at university who was talking about her relationship with her mum and dad, her parents, and she said she could handle anything her parents told her, except one thing. She said she could not bare hearing them say, we’re disappointed with you.
Can you sense what’s behind that comment? I think feelings of despair and hurt can come from statements like that. I’m really disappointed in you, you may say that to your child sometimes. Also, we could be disappointed with God, and we may not always acknowledge that, but he doesn’t respond to our prayers.
Someone has said that when trouble comes, when disappointment breaks your heart and when sorrow grips your spirit, you’ve got a choice. You can be bitter or you can get better. To put it another way, you can wallow in your disappointment, or you can do something about it and begin to get well. You can start to experience the joy and peace of life.
It’s your choice
Well, no one’s going to handle disappointment perfectly. We struggle sometimes to find our way through the disappointments of life. We have to watch ourselves from letting guilt become a burden. And there comes a time we’ve got to decide whether we’re going to wallow in the disappointment or move on. And we can only do that by saying ‘We can wallow in the despair, or we can reach out to God and to other people.’ That’s going to help us to move forward and upward. That’s a choice.
Well, Jesus can actually give us a sense of purpose. God has a plan B. You know that nothing takes God by surprise. If you’re going through disappointment right now, I think in fact, I believe God is putting together a plan B. God says in Isaiah 43 – Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! He’s in the business, actually, of doing new things. He’s got a backup plan in case we miss the plan.
Back in 1920 A church board held a meeting to select missionaries and there stood a man called Oswald Smith who stood before them and he wanted to be a missionary. He prayed, “Lord, I want to go as a missionary. Open the door of service.” And he felt his prayer would be answered. When the examination was over, the board turned this man young man down.
What would he do? Well, God planted another idea in his heart. If he couldn’t go as a missionary, he’d build a church that could send out missionaries. And he established what’s known as the People’s Church in Toronto, and they sent out many, many missionaries. So disappointment is a part of life. But it’s not the final word.
Thank you, Lord, for those truths, that disappointment is not the end. And we cherish those and ask your blessing in Jesus name, Amen.