- To fail to meet the expectation or hope of
- Defeated in expectation or hope
How does one move beyond disappointment while being a Christian? To many, this seems like an easy answer. Jesus! God! Yes, you are correct, Our God and Savior can move us beyond our disappointment. However, my question really is how do we, the Christian, the human, move beyond disappointments? How do we face disappointment and not condemn ourselves? How do we go beyond disappointment without questioning God; or our scrutinizing our walk; or questioning our faith? Especially when you feel the disappointment isn’t warranted or that your time should have come by now. Also, how do we as brothers and sisters minister to those who have and are facing disappointments?
Disappointments are an act of failing. You failed! You did not meet expectations. You couldn’t cut the mustard. In the person’s mind, we were not good enough. We lacked. Was there something more? And slowly it may move to am I cut out for this? Why do I even bother? What hope is there? Till the person is feels alone, out in space, worthless. Am I exaggerating?! To become disappointed means first you must have cared. That means you invested into the goal. It wasn’t some mediocre goal like getting to the grocery store this day or that. It wasn’t some project that you can get to whenever. Disappointment stems from a heavy investment into the goal. There was effort put into it. Not just physical, but emotional and spiritual effort. Especially for the Christian, we put scripture behind it, we prayed on it. We fasted on it. We endured some things to get it. We hoped for it. It’s like running to jump over the crevice to only have your fingers hit the opposite edge. You’re falling, spiraling down in to an abyss of depression and sadness. You reach out to your friends and family and they all seem to have the same answer; God can do anything. But what if God’s anything is “No”. Can you hear them? The many screams of disappointed people, who could not figure out how to move beyond their wails, as they fall, echo off the walls of shame and frustration as their plummet deep within their own abyss. Oh Lord, help us!!!! Help me. I pray with my hands lifted up, help me. Show me the way that I may show others.
One thing that I do know is that we cannot take a “No” as an act of not deserving. Many times, we believe that the reason something we desire doesn’t come to pass because we feel we have not deserved it. Romans 8:1 says there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are I Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. That means, we cannot bring up the past and cannot allow our current short-coming to question our salvation or question the love that God has for us. We should not look at God through the eyes of human nature. Why I say this? As Christians, we have a tendency to hold on to scriptures that we believe give us the add advantage. We are taught, preached and constantly reminded of the goodness of God through these scriptures, however; sometime, maybe, we misapply them. Delight thyself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart. For I know the thoughts I have for you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you an expected end, and many, many more. Then disappointment happens. The answer is “No”. Then we begin to question it all. Was my delight not enough? Have I displeased the Lord in any way? No, my beloved, you have not. Please, by any means, do not think of our God as that kind of God. Please, do not allow that thought to rest in your heart. It may not have been a “No” It just simply is. I am constantly reminded that God is a gentleman. If he did not manipulate your heart, then he won’t manipulate another. Yes, scripture says that God controls the hearts of kings to turn however he may, but that girl you like is not a king. That school you wanted to get in is not a king. That job you desperately wanted is not a king. Plus, we have to remember, God wants his glory. So then we must ask ourselves, how would God get his glory out of my life? Will he get glory by always allowing what I want, or will he get glory through my perseverance through adversity and disappointment?
To the saint, the brother or sister in Christ, who the disappointed may go to, how do we minister? What do we say? What do we do? How do we console and then encourage our disappointed brother or sister? We may have many answers to this question. Many solutions and scriptures to boot. For me, I hope you will not just simply tell me, Who do you serve? Or If God be for you… Or God’s got it. Why do I say this? Let me tell you why. When one begins this venture and comes to disappointment, that is exactly what they were thinking and believing when they went in. I’m a child of God, I serve a mighty God, it’s mine in Jesus’ name. Yes, we went into this full of faith and hope. Now you see us, and we are deflated. We are heart-broken and confused. We are questioning things. We are not riding high on the wave; we are soaked through and through. We went in more than a conqueror and come out feeling like Tyson made a comeback on our emotions, our confidence and our faith. I like the way Jesus handled disappointed people.
In John 4, we see and hear the look of disappointment. The woman at the well, if you read John 4, you see a woman, in the land of Samaria, coming to the local well to draw water. There are a few things to note here. She is coming at the noon hour. Jesus, being a Jew, is at the well. His disciples are not with him, so they end up being alone. Not to get so deep into it, the Jews never really go through Samaria, so the fact that Jesus said he must go through Samaria and that he would meet this particular woman there is critical. This woman has faced a life of disappointments, First, her neighbors consider her a dog; meaning the Jewish nation. These same neighbors, through the story, are actually family. She, herself, is ostracized and unhappy with her current social situation. Finally, we get to the root of the matter; she has had five unsuccessful marriages. She has been disappointed five times majorly. She has suffered heartache, betrayal, deficiency, abuse, misuse and her esteem plummeted. She has been disappointed greatly. When this is revealed, it’s not done in a way that makes her feel worse, but in a way that says, I understand but move on. Yes, Bro, she is cute, but she is not the end all be all. I know you wanted that job, I’m sorry you did not get it. I’m sure God has something better out there for you. Jesus didn’t dismiss her feelings on it and he didn’t dismiss the disappointment, he felt her pain. He didn’t throw the life line of scripture at her; but got in the deep water and helped her out. Like she said, I don’t see any tools in your hand, this well is deep. Sometimes, to effectively minister to a disappointed person, you have to get into the water and pull them out.
The story of Peter walking on water illustrates the same thing, Peter walked on that water. You have to understand that he walked always onto that water. Think about it, if he started sinking as soon as he got off the boat, he would have cried out to his fellow brothers on the boat. The fact that he cried to Jesus and not them lets me know he was closer to where Jesus was than to the boat. Situations around him got hectic and he realized his faith was turning to fear. Yes, Peter was disappointed. His goal was to reach Jesus and he fell short. When he got off that boat, he began investing in his goal. His emotions, his esteem, his faith was all about reaching Christ. When he failed, yes he was disappointed and he cried out. Jesus didn’t throw a life line of scriptures. Jesus didn’t throw the life buoy of anecdotes of positive thinking. Jesus went to Peter, reached into his situation and grabbed him by the hand. He pulled him out and ministered. Let us be sensitive and reach in and help pull one out of their disappointment.
My brothers and sisters in Christ let me sit with you and talk. I’m writing this because I have had this experience. I have had to deal with disappointment. It affected me. It haunted me. It made me overly critical of my walk, my relationship with God; everything. I tried to talk and not to the fault of the ears it fell on, but didn’t get the consolation I needed. What I eventually had to learn and do was encourage myself. Yes, like David said, I had to encourage myself in the Lord. Let me tell you, it is a humbling experience when done from a disappointed point of view. There are a few things you need to know and understand to help you through this.
God is still on the throne. He is still an awesome God. He still loves you with a never ending love. When I fell into a depressed state, I had to remind myself about God. I stood in church, disappointment heavy on me, when the choir sung there is no God like our God, so I began to reflect on that. I reflected on how God has affected my life. How he saved me. How he blessed me. How he sustained me. How he preserved me. How he uses me. How he still blesses me, how he still sustains me. How he loves me. I began to encourage myself in the Lord. I began to think on His sovereignty. I began to think on how this would give him glory. How this experienced adds to my testimony. How turning this disappointment into a testimony of God’s grace. God may say no and like children, we will pout and stomp away. But when I look at my Father, I still love Him. I still want Him. I may not understand now, but I know that he may have something better for me. And if not, He has done enough already.
-Min Mike Jones