Faith and Dealing with Disappointment

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world. John 16:33.

Disappointments happen in life. They just do. They are part of “and in this world you shall have tribulation, trouble, suffering, distress, oppression, affliction, experience difficulties, trials and sorrows, persecution, dis-ease. I read John 16:33 in 36 different translations and they translated the word tribulation into all those various words. One of those troubles is disappointment.

Disappointment affects our emotions. It is sadness or displeasure caused by nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations. So if we are going to learn to deal with our disappointment, we must understand how it effects that part of our soul. Mentally, in our brain, we can understand why a person had to cancel a meeting, or break their promise, but it can still bring pain to our heart. If we ignore or hide from the fact we are disappointed, we bury that pain and it can cause further damage to the relationship later on. Anger and mistrust can fester, not good things. When dealing with disappointment, let’s remember Hebrews 14:15. Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great HIgh Priest with ready access to God–let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a high priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help. This includes dealing with disappointment.

Often,disappointments occur through people. Disappointment often happens when something we anticipated–maybe looked forward to didn’t happen. Do you think Jesus might have experienced some disappointment when he was working with his disciples? In Matthew 17, we read where a distraught father came to Jesus, concerned for his son, after he had asked some of Jesus’ disciples to pray for his son, who had a demon. His response was telling. Jesus replied: Where is your faith? Can’t you see how wayward and wrong this generation is? How much longer do I stay with you and pur up with your doubts? Bring your son to me.” Do you think he might have been disappointed on the night of his betrayal when the disciples were found sleeping? The difference between Jesus facing disappointment and our disappointments is Jesus knew they were going to happen. Often we are caught off guard and our emotions surprise us.

I admit I have experienced many disappointments in my life. Some of it took me a long time to admit. I would pass it off as no big deal, when in actuality my heart was hurt, but I did not want the other person to “feel” bad or to know just how disappointed I was. It built up walls of distrust and affected my meeting new people. I have now learned to talk it over with the Lord. Admit it to Him. He is a great listener! Often, as I share my disappointments with Him, perspective comes and I learn from the situation. Other times, I need a safe person to share the pain with. The Word reminds us to confess our sins to one another. (James 5:16) This safe person can hear but won’t won’t judge the person who disappointed us, but will listen and share their perspective. Ask the Lord for guidance in this area.

Sometimes we are disappointed because we had unrealistic expectations.Taking time to look at the bigger picture of all involved can help bring things into a better perspective. A vacation will not solve all your problems! A new job won’t necessarily bring all the changes you want or need. Adjusting our expectations can help us monitor our disappointments.

I Corinthians 11:28 urges us to examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup. This is often a great time to do a soul check up. Are you ok with yourself or others? Is there some unacknowledged pain that you have been carrying around that you need to deal with? Remembering all that Jesus went through, and accepting His forgiveness, is a good way to clear the slate.

Why do we need to deal with disappointment? Because it robs us from the fullness of joy that Jesus wants us to have. It can cause us to isolate from the ones we care about. Left undealt with it can lead to depression and anger. Especially if you find yourself disappointed in you. When we are disappointed with ourselves, it brings sadness and guilt that can linger long after the event. Admit you are human. Seek forgiveness if necessary and then leave it under the blood of Jesus. Learn from your actions. Don’t become ensnared by them. Develop realistic expectations for yourself! This is often a tricky one, for we are often our worst critic. Remember the good news! Jesus Christ came to save sinners, you and I fall in that category! Do not let pride interfere with receiving His forgiveness for yourself. It is not worth it.

Father, I thank you for help us learn to deal with disappointments. I thank you for understanding the pain that happens when we are disappointed, and helping us move past that pain. Please show us where we have let unacknowledged disappointment cause distrust and walls between us and others. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

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