Dealing with Disappointment

       Praying for your child to be healed and they die.  Sitting in front of a judge and hearing that you are now officially divorced.  Watching another scandal erupt in government, business, or even the church.  Deep disappointment is woven through life.  It is upsetting, even crushing.  How do we deal with it?
      First, challenge and clarify our expectations.  Author Richard Rohr warns us, “Every unrealistic expectation is a resentment waiting to happen.”  Think about our expectations of following Jesus; so many think God always guarantees us “health and wealth” in this life.  This expectation is clearly false.  Jesus says in this world we will have trouble (John 16:33); He even says that to follow Him is to take up a cross (Luke 9:23).  That cross is not the gold plated one worn by many Americans, but the first century instrument of torture and death.  In many countries around the world, to follow Jesus means rejection by family, and active persecution from the community and government.  Christian, expect suffering; you will not be disappointed.
      Second, trust God.  His ways are higher than ours.  Compared to God our understanding is child-like.  I have never forgotten decades ago when I held down our first child for his immunizations. The look of betrayal in his eyes was painful for me.  But I knew more than he did, and despite what he thought, I was working for his good.  He was disappointed in me, but I was actually loving him.  In addition, trust God’s timing.  In the book of Genesis, Joseph, as a young man is given a dream that his entire family would bow to him and he would have authority over them.  Yet, he experienced his brothers selling him into slavery, is falsely accused by Potifer’s wife and imprisoned, but eventually he was lifted to the second most powerful place in Egypt.  God was always walking with him, but I suspect Joseph had moments of confusion, sadness and disappointment.  His brothers did have to face him again.  His brothers did bow to him.  I am not sure the origin of the quote, but years ago I heard someone say, “We are a microwave people who serve a crock pot God.”  God moves slowly from our perspective, but He is always moving and always on time.  The Hebrews prayed to God for deliverance from Egyptian slavery for hundreds of years before FINALLY, God sent Moses.
      Third, fix your eyes on the new heavens and new earth. Hardship in this life, even death is not the last word.  God has the final word, and that word is eternity.  Imagine a place with no tears, mourning, sickness or death (Revelation 21:1-5).  A place where we get to experience the fully revealed presence of God.  A place of reunion with Christians that have gone before us, even that child that we lost despite our desperate prayers.  A place of reward for our contribution to God’s kingdom.   A place where we receive resurrection bodies.  Bodies that never ache or break.  A place where the disappointments of this life melt away as we move into the delights of the next life.
     Some disappointment is inevitable; however, our hope in God is unstoppable.  Shake off your disappointments and cling wholeheartedly to God.
 Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church