04 February, 2016

Disappointment doesn't have to get us down

I have a blogosphere friend who has been disappointed repeatedly about big things in the last couple of years. A lot of the disappointment has centred around children, family, and other people. She's been really knocked around. She has also been diagnosed with post natal depression.

I remember my first big failure. It was in my last year of my university degree and I failed a 7-week prac. placement. Wow, that really threw me. It came in the context of a number of other disappointments, including a fall from the heights of a short-term missions trip back into the reality of not-so-perfect church life in Australia.

Nevertheless the first time I realised that even things that seemed perfect and right, dreams that we'd held as young people, could change was when I discovered that the marriage of a very good friend and the husband of her youth were in serious trouble. I'm thankful to say that they've pulled through that difficult time, but for a long time we didn't know how this would turn out.

Since then I've recognised more clearly that life is full of disappointment. That we should almost expect it. We've seen other good friends have breakdowns, divorce, extra marital affairs, miscarriages. In our circles of friends, family, and mission colleagues there's been cancer, death, suicide, kids with disabilities, churches split, people walk away from God, missionaries who have to go home, etc. I'm shocked every time, especially when I see Christians behaving in ways that I would never have guessed they could. Now in my 40s I much more aware of how broken our world it and how many dreams fail.

It's easy to get very negative about it all, but there is one thing in life that doesn't disappoint and this article says it very well. It points out that even things that we really look forward to disappoint us, because they don't live up to our expectations in one way or another. And then we feel guilty because we're not happy in what we have and desire more. Or we disappoint ourselves despite our fervent vows that we'll do better next time when we mess up again.

But Paul says in Romans 5:3–6 that it is hope in the promises of God, in the promise of a sure eternity in heaven, that does not disappoint us. We hope, not in vain like we do for things on earth, but with certainty.

Here's a couple of other "hope" passages: 
"So that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast" Heb 6:18, 19a, NASB.
"Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who hope in me will not be disappointed" Isaiah 49:23b, NIV.

The other night I came across this verse in my regular Bible reading, I found it so rich in meaning. What a beautiful prayer.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" Romans 15:13, NIV.
So, in the disappointments that come our way or well-up within us, let us remember that this isn't how God meant the world to be, this broken world isn't his ideal. That's all still to come in his good time.

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