Disappointment, most of the time, is the result of built up expectations in my own mind. When I experience disappointment, it is because things don’t go the way I want them to.
Moments come, and have recently, when I find myself feeling sorrowful or disappointed, but, I can’t stay there. Actually, I could. I could wallow in it and feel sorry for myself. I could share my frustration with everyone I talk to. I could, but if I did, it would be sin. What makes my little disappointment an act of willful disobedience and defiance to God? To figure this out, I have to analyze myself. When I recognize the feeling of disappointment in my life, what do I do with it?
One option is to let it fester like an unmedicated boil. It grows and poisons my heart. A septic wound that rather than healing, stays a wound, and whenever it gets touched, it sends jolts of pain through my entire body. It becomes an idol. Who would want to worship a disappointment? I become a worshipper of it because it becomes the standard I compare things to. The disappointment becomes a measurement scale. Mere greetings get transformed into an opportunity to spread my pain.
-“Hey, Jonathan. How’s it going?”
-“You know, not bad, considering. Did I tell you about that awful thing that happened to me?”
When this disappointment becomes part of my identity, I am saying to God, my plan was better. You messed things up.
Option two is to recognize the disappointment, and turn away from it to Jesus.
The Bible teaches that God is completely sovereign over all things. It also teaches that in all things, God is working out his perfect plan for our good, and His everlasting glory (Romans 8:28).
As members of God’s creation we are all testifying to God’s glory. God made man in His image. (Genesis 1:27) We are all little images of God running around the earth doing our own thing. I want this image, my image, to be actively glorifying Him in every word, thought, and deed (1 Corinthians 10:31).
When I choose to wallow in self pity because of disappointment, I am flaunting my frustration before Almighty God. Rather than sharing how great my God is, I am spreading my infectious personal dismay and annoyance with God to others. What I’m telling people is that God failed and ruined my perfect plan.
What is the truth? God is perfect, and no one else is (Psalm 18:30). On my best day, my wisest thought is still foolishness compared to God (1 Corinthians 3:19).
Don’t hear me say that the pain of disappointment isn’t real. It is. The pain of disappointment hurts. The bad news I receive doesn’t feel good. But I have to recognize two things from it. First, I’m reminded that “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. (Proverbs 27:6 ESV) With this in mind, I remember I have no greater friend in the universe than Jesus, my savior and God. So if my wounds come from Him, then I can know that they are faithful! On top of this, even at my best – on my most righteous and God glorifying day, the Lord is still more interested in bringing Himself glory through me than I am.
The second thing I remember is that this pain has a purpose. It is for my good and God’s glory, but how does that come out in my life? James tells me: “for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:3-4 ESV)
My disappointment is real, it hurts, but I have a faithful God that I can trust more than I trust myself. God has a better plan. Better for me, and more glorious for Him.