Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. James 1:2-8
Disappointment is inevitable. Living in a broken world, we are bound to experience this emotion at one point or another. It doesn't discriminate, and it touches us all. Sometimes the distress comes from unforeseen circumstances: not getting into college, a failed relationship, a lost job, a grim medical diagnosis. Other times the hurt and pain come from the words and actions (or lack thereof) of those around us. Then there are those occasions when the disappointment rests on our shoulders. We look in the mirror and are discouraged by the reflection. We let ourselves down.
And, if we're brutally honest, on occasion we are disappointed in God. Our dreams shatter into a million pieces, and while picking up the shards, we wonder how a kind and loving God could allow things to unfold in the way that they did. Confused and frustrated, we find ourselves wrestling with the question of…WHY, GOD?
If not addressed, disappointment has the power to damage and debilitate while creating doubt and distance. Left long enough, it leads to depression and despair. We were never meant to wallow in disappointment. We must empty our hearts to God rather than keep it inside. He invites us to take our heartaches to Him. He empathizes and understands our struggle. He also offers a way out.
Yes, disappointment is inevitable, but hopelessness is optional.
We might not have any control over what happens TO us, but we do have a say in what happens IN us and how God works THROUGH us. Our character gets tested and formed when it meets adversity. The choice is ours whether we let disappointment have the final word and halt us in our tracks or if we find the courage to dust ourselves off and take a step of faith and let perseverance finish its work.
God doesn't waste anything. He uses everything, including our disappointment.
Just because we can't see God working doesn’t mean He isn't up to something. Scripture says that in "ALL THINGS God works for the GOOD of those who love Him, who have been CALLED according to HIS PURPOSE" (Romans 8:28).
The tension many of us face in the midst of disappointment is an unwillingness to let go of our dream, our hope, and our agenda and embrace the grander purpose God has for our life. Obstacles are opportunities in disguise. Our setbacks can set us up for a transformation we couldn't imagine on our own.
We only get to experience this if we're willing to ask a better question. We can't stop at "Why, God?" A question like that leaves us stuck in the past, a place that can't be changed or fixed. Instead, we need to turn around and look towards the future by asking, "What now, Lord?" By seeking out this answer, we learn what our next step is - not only out of the land of disappointment but also into the future God has for us.
What disappointments are you currently carrying with you and how are you processing this situation?
What is one way you can be honest and pour out your problems to God this week? How can you move from “Why, Lord?” to asking, “What now, Lord?”
God, Your love never fails and never disappoints. Remind me of this when I encounter circumstances that have the power to steal my joy and make me question my faith. Help me to see that You use my experiences, both the good and bad, so I can better reflect Your heart and love to others. May I be willing to let You mold me in any way You see fit. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.