The other day, I reached for a handful of Kleenex for a friend when her tears were the only things I could wipe away.
Two weeks ago, I listened to another friend ask questions I couldn’t answer. “Why did this happen? Why did God bring us to this and then let us down?”
Over the past couple of weeks, these and other friends have shared their deepest disappointments with me. As they poured out their sorrows, I watched remorse run down their faces. I caught the tremor in their tones. I felt the heaviness in their hearts.
These encounters reminded me of what my past disappointments felt like, and how I wanted to offer answers to my friends.
The Forms and Feelings of Disappointment
Disappointments come in different forms and sizes, but they can feel very similar.
Do you look around and believe God is giving others everything you longed for?
After years of anticipation, you finally feel so close to your dream: the promotion, the baby you long for, or that perfect house. As you step on the threshold—feel it under the arch of your foot, the door slams shut before you can enter.
Or maybe a relationship, diagnosis, or death leaves you burdened. You wait with the weight, as it pulls you down.
More than once, I lost my footing and focus, falling through what felt like a trap door and into a dark hole of confinement. I was left wondering if there was any way out. As much as I wanted to reach for the opening above me, my hands couldn’t grasp it.
Have you ever been there?
As hard as it is to hear, disappointments are part our earthly life. John 16:33 tells us we will have trouble in this world, but there is hope. So, how do we move beyond these troubles?
It’s okay to be disappointed for a short time. God acknowledges this. He understands our feelings and cares for us. In fact, He wants us to draw near to Him and longs to guide us with love.
To remain mired in this pain only hurts us more.
Yes, I learned the hard way.
The Pitfalls to Prolonged Disappointment
When we fix our eyes on our disappointment and lose our focus on Him and what is positive in our lives, we get in trouble. We may start to believe His solutions don’t align with ours, become discouraged, and lose faith and hope.
As we feed our disappointments, they enlarge. We go back for seconds, only to serve our suffering.
Holding onto disappointment leads to damaging effects:
- It defines and confines us.
- It destroys our peace when we forget that the season is temporary.
- It distracts us by taking our focus off God’s design for us.
- It deceives us into believing lies.
- It dominates and darkens our world.
- It determines our deity. (Expectations become our idols.)
- It dishonors God.
Are we serving our pain rather than serving God?
Moving Beyond the Pain of Disappointment
There was a time when my challenging circumstances remained the same, but everything changed. It happened when I started looking vertically to God. That year, I decided to be baptized. My testimony spoke of my joy—even while still in the midst of those challenges. I cited Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things, through Christ who strengthens me.” Like Saul in Acts 9:18-19, I regained my sight with a new focus.
Today, I reflect on what I’ve learned over the past few years. Letting go of disappointments appoints new promises:
- We make room for more positive experiences.
- We learn something greater through the difficulty.
- We make better decisions when grounded in His Truth.
- We can use the disappointment to witness to others.
- We can experience joy despite our circumstances.
- We gain strength through new perspectives.
- We move forward with confidence.
“The remedy for discouragement is the Word of God,” writes Warren Wiersbe in his book, Prayer, Praise, and Promise. “When you feed your heart and mind with its truth, you regain perspective and find renewed strength.”
If we allow it, our disappointment will eat at us. Do we feed it or be fed by something greater?
Disappointments come in different forms and sizes, but they can feel very similar. Click To Tweet
As we feed our disappointments, they enlarge. We go back for seconds, only to serve our suffering. Click To Tweet.Letting go of disappointments appoints new promises: Click To Tweet The remedy for discouragement is the Word of God Click To Tweet
(Photo by Matthew Henry via Unsplash, used with permission under CCO license.
Thank you my friend for this deep and profound insight into disappointment. Very timely and needed. Hugs!
Feeling this today as the team leaves for Haiti, and Grace and I are not on the plane. But I’m leaning in to God’s plan for this season.
Thanks for sharing this with us. Very nice !
So beautifully written Sharon. I love you so much. Parents want so much for their children to not go thru the pain and heart break that life brings them. You are strong, I am so proud of you and you walk with God. You were my rock when I needed you to be, THANK YOU MOM
I so enjoy reading your writings Sharon.
Finding joy in all circumstances – such peace when that happens.