Disappointment… You know the feeling. You realize something has not gone the way you had hoped, and your stomach drops. Sometimes it feels like an instant slap in the face. Other times it’s a gradual realization until you feel bamboozled. (Isn’t that a fun word?) And if you are anything like me, the following days can be worse than the actual moments of disappointment. The individuals closest to you might suffer the consequences, which COULD include: constant discussion about said disappointment, an increased atmosphere of irritability, and the sudden disappearance of all chocolate in the home.
The first definition that came up on my google search was this: “disappointment: the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.”
Notice the word “feeling.” Wow! That struck a chord with me, because I get so caught up in my feelings, and they can get me in big trouble. Feelings are not bad in and of themselves, but because of the Fall (Genesis 3), they are tainted by sin and can (and will) lead us astray. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” We cannot trust our feelings to lead us through life.
Keeping in mind that feelings should not be the primary guides for our decisions and actions, is disappointment a positive or negative thing? Negative!! Wouldn’t it be great to live in a world where we would never experience that horrible feeling in our stomach when we are let down in a situation, or fight back the tears when we are betrayed by the ones close to us?
The LORD brought to mind this verse from Paul’s letter to the church in Rome.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (Romans 5:3-5, ESV)
Look what Paul says about our hope. As believers, we do have a hope that does not disappoint. Here, Paul is building upon the hope he introduced in Romans 5:2, “the hope of the glory of God.” This is the promise that God will perfect us one day, and we will spend eternity with Him in heaven, if we are saved through Christ Jesus. That hope will NEVER disappoint us.
That’s great Paul, but how can this unbelievable hope on the promises of God help me handle the disappointments while I am here on earth? Can I apply this future hope NOW so that I don’t continue to lash out at everyone around me or stay in bed for the next six months? (That’s one of those jokes with a hint of truth ha!)
Look at Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (ESV) Some translations say faith is the confidence, evidence, even reality of things hoped for. Those words give such a strength and objectivity to this idea of faith. The author goes on to give us a list of heroes in the faith such as Abraham, Moses, and my personal favorite, Rahab 😊 who have gone before us living their lives with their eyes fixed on this future hope. They lived here on earth amidst major trials and HUGE disappointments, but continued living “by faith” because they believed the promises of God and placed their confidence in that future hope. In a way, they were celebrating their future hope while they were here on earth, almost like having a pre-victory party. Can you imagine being that confident in something? What a beautiful picture. We can (and should!) have that same level confidence, because WE serve the same GOD who has given us the same promises through His Son!! He will NOT disappoint us.
So perhaps there IS a correlation between faith and dealing with my disappointment. Maybe if I fix my eyes on the future hope in my Savior Jesus Christ, and think on who HE is and what He has done for me, I won’t get AS worked up when things down here make my heart sink. Could I train my mind to outsmart my emotions and start running to the One who doesn’t disappoint? Could I refocus on HIM and the glory He has waiting for me, instead of myself and the sadness, hurt feelings, and disappointment I feel?
Well, I definitely have a LOOOONG way to go. To give you an idea of where I am in this department, the family size bag of Nestle Crunch bars I bought from Kroger a couple of days ago is almost gone. And I’m the only one in the family who really eats chocolate. 😊
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely entangles, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-3, ESV)