Given enough time on this earth all of us will experience disappointment to a greater or lesser degree. Admittedly, if we would adhere to the Word of God the disappointments we would suffer would be far less frequent, especially when it comes to putting our trust in men.
Disappointment is part of life, it is with us from early childhood when we don’t get that toy we wanted for our birthday, to our adolescence when the girl or boy we really liked won’t give us the time of day, to our early adulthood when we don’t get into the college of our choosing, then onto outright adulthood when we don’t get our dream job, our paycheck isn’t what we envisioned, our health is not what it once was, and the hair on our head does a disappearing act worthy of the ‘illusion of the year’ title. Sadly, it is no illusion, the hair’s gone for good, or at the very least is permanently relocated in previously uninhabited parts of one’s body.
Some people can’t cope with disappointment, they can’t get past it, they can’t overcome it, so rather than move on, rather than grow from it, rather than learn a lesson, the stew and the ferment and they remain in a state of bitterness that begins to poison every aspect of their existence. Soon, every ounce of peace is gone, every ounce of joy is gone, because the person now defines themselves by their disappointment, and soon their attitude and emotional state begins to bleed out affecting their spouses, their children, their friends and their loved ones.
Knowing how destructive not overcoming disappointment can be for us, the question that begs to be asked is how exactly can we overcome disappointment in our lives?
Although much of the Bible contains positive examples, detailing actions we ought to undertake, mindsets we should possess, steadfastness we should aspire to, faithfulness we ought to imitate, there are also examples contained therein of what not to do, and how not to react.
One would be hard pressed to find a better example of crushing disappointment in the Word, or in the history of the world for that matter than the disappointment suffered by the followers of Christ upon His crucifixion and death. These were men and women who committed wholeheartedly to the cause of Christ, men and women who had abandoned their jobs, their families, given away their fortunes and belongings, and now the One they followed, the One they believed in lay in someone else’s tomb, broken and bruised and expired. Not only that, these individuals were now being hunted and persecuted and martyred in their own right.
On the day of the resurrection, the third day after Christ’s death, two men were traveling to a village called Emmaus, which is about seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked they spoke of the things which had happened the previous few days, and while they conversed Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. They did not recognize Him as being the Christ, because their eyes were restrained, and as He drew near them He asked what it was they were talking about since they seemed so sad as they walked.
Many words were spoken, but what encapsulated their sadness and their disappointment, at least in my estimation was one sentence spoken by these two men, ‘But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.’
He had died, their hopes had been dashed, no king would redeem Israel with sword and shield and bow and arrow. They had a picture in their mind of who Jesus was supposed to be that did not coincide with who Jesus was in reality.
‘We thought He would be king, we though He would rule, we were hoping He would redeem Israel from the bondage of the Romans, but alas, He did none of these things.’
These two men traveling to Emmaus were in the throes of deep disappointment because things had not worked out the way they had envisioned that they would.
So the first way to either spare ourselves disappointment or overcome it, is to be open to the reality that God will not always solve a problem, deal with an issue, or make a way in the manner in which we envisioned that He would. When we attempt to superimpose our will upon God’s will, and seeing only one resolution to an issue assume that this is the way God must resolve it, we are setting ourselves up for bitter disappointment and heartache. What we see with our physical eyes as having a singular resolution, God in His infinite wisdom might see as having fifty possible resolutions, and in His boundless love choosing the best one for our predicament.
The second way in which we overcome disappointment is to be wholly dependent upon the grace and power of God. No matter the circumstance, no matter the trial, know that God will not abandon His own. He is always there, ever ready to carry us through the storms of this life, ever ready to be our strength, to be our protector, and to be our provider. It is when we forget that we have an omnipotent God; it is when we forget that we have an omniscient God, that the disappointments and setbacks of life seem like the end of the world, like something insurmountable, and beyond our ability to overcome. God knows all things, He sees all things, and in His power He is able to resolve all things.
The third way in which we overcome disappointment is by constantly reminding ourselves of the temporality of this life. Eternity beckons with every breath we take, and that which is here on this earth, this present life we live is but a whisper, a passing fleeting thing that ends before it really begins, and no matter what disappointments we endure while in these earthly vessels will be all but forgotten when we enter into our rest, and behold the glory of our God in all His majesty.
Yes, disappointments are plentiful in this life, but as we journey onward toward eternity, we must overcome them, learn from them and grow from them.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.