No one is ever spared from disappointments.
Ever caught yourself saying:
- I had hopes I would stay on my job …
- I had hopes so-and-so would have won …
- I had hopes my loved one would get better …
- I had hopes our marriage would work …
- I had hopes …
Such is the pain of disappointment.
Disappointment is a composition of “dis’ and “appointment.” Often when we are “dis,” separated or torn apart from an expected “appointment” or outcome, we feel the pain and anguish of disappointment.
I read somewhere that disappointment is like a wedge resting on our spirits.
The tip of the wedge may seem so harmless. Yet if this wedge of disappointment remains unchecked it can penetrate deeper into our spirits until we are utterly defeated.
If we allow our disappointment to rankle, the wedge is driven in a little farther and we experience discouragement. We feel resigned. “What’s the point of trying so hard? I feel like giving up.”
If left unchecked, the wedge goes deeper and discouragement becomes disillusionment. We feel cynical. “I can never trust people nor God anymore.”
If the wedge sinks farther, the disillusionment proceeds to despair. We feel hopeless. “I cannot see any light at the end of the tunnel.”
As that wedge invades deeper still, despair turns to depression. We feel depressed. “I don’t wish to talk nor see anyone. Just leave me alone.”
Finally, we end in defeat. We feel defeated. “God, why don’t you just take my life?”
And that was exactly how the prophet Elijah felt. He had hopes to see a mighty revival after the display of God’s power at Mount Carmel. Instead the outcome was a price on his head. Elijah was so disappointed that he asked God to take his life.
The Bible is full of disappointed people. People like Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Hannah, and Elizabeth. They had hopes that God will give them a child. They waited for a very long time. How disappointed they must be to see the unchanged reality of their barren wombs.
Job had hopes that his friends would afford him some comfort and support during his horrific suffering. But he was so disappointed with his friends by the counsel they gave him.
Joseph expects to marry a faithful virgin wife. Imagine the disappointment in Joseph’s heart when he found Mary pregnant.
None of us can avoid disappointments in life. But none of us have to let disappointments drag us down to defeat.
In my recent bout of disappointment, I found myself affirming over and over, “God is sovereign. All things work for good.”
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Interestingly, all the disappointed people in the Bible whom I have mentioned earlier saw the “good.” Only the disappointed understand in greater depth the truth of Romans 8:28.
God does not shield His people from disappointments. Perhaps He wants us to trust in His goodness. But for sure He wants to mould our character.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love” (Romans 5:3-5 NLT).