Disappointment is a common human experience. What person cannot look back upon his life and discover disappointments either within himself or with others? Something about the human spirit that God created tends to heal up our disappointments and drive us to hope once again.
When I think about the disappointments I have experienced at the hands of others, I visualize some situations that were hard to forgive. Sometimes it takes years.
One of the healing remembrances for me, however, is to consider the ways I’ve disappointed others. Seeing the splinter in someone else’s eye is hard to do with the plank so deeply embedded in your own.
In some sense life is a roller coaster of trust and disappointment. We become accustomed over time to the rise of faith, and the fear of falling. While we are in the throes of fearsome twists and turns we swear we’ll never do it again. But how many people get off of the ride and get back in line? In truth one of the most debilitating things in life is to be hurt and to simply live in it. There are no easy answers when disappointment leads to bitterness, and bitterness to defeat.
Disappointment hurts. But it is not without merit. From each occurrence of disappointment we learn more about our own discernment and strength. We gain insights that we didn’t have before. We wouldn’t ask to learn this way, but we should not curse it.
“If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Disappointment with others and self are powerful. Disappointment with God can be a shattering experience. When the last and ultimate safety net doesn’t seem to be there anymore, how do we relate to God? Apostle Paul uses a term that’s hard for me to embrace. He takes about learning to ‘rejoice in our afflictions‘. That doesn’t come natural for any of us. Paul points us to the healing balm for disappointed hearts.
…We also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. ~Romans 5:3-5
When you’re disappointed, remember that God’s love is overflowing in your heart through the Holy Spirit. The hope that is produced through your struggle will never disappoint you. When we see the world as God does … filled with broken people who need His love and salvation … we cannot stabilize our hearts in wounded zones. We will emerge from a time of reflective healing into new gains in wisdom and strength.
If you are burning from disappointment right now, do not despair. Endure. A blazing work of God is transforming your burden into new levels of leadership, compassion, and devotion to Him.
Thanks for reading, John.