Surviving Disappointment

Read Isaiah 55:8–9

God reminds us that his thoughts, choices, and intents are far superior to our own. Our humanness limits what we can see and know, but he sees and knows everything.

Disappointment is a sad and terribly lonely place. We all land there at some point in life. Our children move away and never call. Colleagues betray us. The company to which we’ve devoted our years “downsizes,” and we’re on the layoff list right along with the newcomer and the slacker. The man we love doesn’t love us back. The perfect child we dream about and tend in pregnancy is born with defects that will make the rest of our lives, and all our family members’ lives, nothing less than challenging. We get a disease or suffer an injury for which there is no relief or cure. Our investments dwindle. Friends disappear. The one we’ve prayed to find Jesus never does. Our dreams shatter, and our best-laid plans go astray. Other Christians fail us. People disappoint us. We even disappoint ourselves.

The long series of disappointments we accumulate in a lifetime can stop us from moving forward into all the goodness God has planned for us—and that means they’ll be stopping not only us but also those God has destined us to reach along our life’s journey. After all, how can anyone stuck in their own disappointment help others out of theirs? How can we convince others of the wonder of God’s promises if we doubt them ourselves? How can we share how God has saved us when we don’t feel saved at all?

Why is it that we can know in our heads that God has our good in mind and that he can redeem any and every circumstance, and yet we can still feel hugely disappointed and deeply despondent? Our heads tell us God is trustworthy—but in a moment of aching disappointment, our hearts tell us he’s not even there.

In these places of deep disappointment, we must remind ourselves of those things about God that we know to be true, though they might not feel true at the moment. We must conclude for ourselves that the valley of death we are walking through isn’t, to borrow an image from Pilgrim’s Progress, a Slough of Despond from which we would never emerge, but simply a shadow, and that shadow does not define our lives. Christ does.

There is so much we don’t know. But we do know this: If we are to accept the disappointments that we cannot escape in life, we must turn to God’s Word for hope and encouragement.

Point to Ponder

God knows things we don’t know, and does things in ways we could never predict. He is infinite, and we are finite. In good times and bad, we must trust him to know what is best for us.

Adopted from Christine Caine

Pray this prayer with me:

Father, I come to You in the name of Jesus.  I confess that I am afraid.  I am afraid of life and the pain it has brought me.  I am afraid of painful things and situations happening to me again.  Lord, You said that fear has torment and You have not given me a spirit of fear.  I bring my concerns to You.  You are the only One who can help me.  When I can’t explain what is happening inside of me, You already know.  I renounce fear, in the name of Jesus.  I ask for Your peace to over-shadow me.  Take away the pain from the things that have hurt me.  Set me free.  I receive my freedom.  I receive Your help.  When I call on You, I know You will answer me.  I receive the peace that surpasses my ability to understand.  When stressful situations surround me, I decree that I will remain in a peaceful state of mind.  My emotions are healed.  I am healed. Thank you Father for giving me what I asked for. In Jesus’ name I pray and believe, amen (let it be so).

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