Dealing with and Overcoming Disappointment
I am the Reverend Hank Wilson and Welcome to the Christian Life Gospel Ministry Podcast ‘Dealing with Life, Your Biblical Guide to Staying Upright When Life Tries to Knock You Down’. It is time for ‘Words of Encouragement’ – today it is all about ‘Dealing with Disappointments’. Started the show with Ernest Tubb – When Jesus Calls
Our Prayer – Dear Lord Jesus, it seems as if more and more of the time I encounter people who are disappointed in how things are turning out in their lives. I know that I also have suffered bouts of disappointment and it can be difficult to overcome those feelings. I ask today, that you help each of us learn the best ways of dealing with the disappointments of life Amen
At some point in life, everyone suffers a disappointment of one type or another. Maybe we were disappointed that we didn’t get the job we wanted, maybe we didn’t get invited to an event we wanted to attend, maybe a loved one let us down or betrayed a confidence, or maybe we prayed for healing and we didn’t get it.
Some are incredibly disappointed when their favorite team loses, I’ve seen bull and bronc riders get disappointed when they don’t make the eight seconds, or team ropers when they miss, barrel racers when they hit a barrel, no matter where we are or what we do in life there is a chance we can be disappointed.
Many people and events in life can disappoint us, and when we are disappointed, it hurts. That’s what I want to explore in this message how we can use the teachings found in the bible to help us deal with our disappointments and in doing so become closer to Jesus.
Going to talk about three areas:
- How should we deal with life’s disappointments?
- How can we minimize life’s disappointments?
- How do we handle it when God disappoints us?
So is there a way to deal with life’s disappointments? Absolutely, first when the Lord speaks to us, we need to listen. In the Gospel of Luke in Chapter 5 verses 4 through 6 is a perfect example of how listening to the Lord can pay off. Jesus was preaching on the shore of Lake Ge- nes-aret, the crowds were building up, so He got into Simon’s boat and had him go offshore, and he began to preach. The we read starting in verse 4 “ When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Here is a very direct statement to Simon telling him to do something. In verse 5 “Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but will do as You say and let down the nets.” Now the guys were tired, rode hard and put away wet, they were disappointed because they hadn’t caught any fish after being out all night. A feeling that any person who has ever fished can identify with, after all it’s called fishing, not catching. Then in verse 6 we read, “When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break;” In spite of their disappointment in the previous night, they listened to the Lord and were rewarded.
So when we have been disappointed by someone or something, it is important to take a step back and ask the Lord what to do, offer up a simple prayer, make sure he is in your heart and make sure we are living the kind of life that He wants us to. We can be stubborn all we want, but that isn’t going to change things, the only time things will change is when we submit to doing His will.
Once we do that, it becomes possible to accept and understand God’s ability to bring good out of any situation – in other words, let the Lord make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. In Romans chapter 8 verse 28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” This is a tough verse to believe in for some; especially when they have suffered a major disappointment. For example, I know a couple who have been unable to conceive a child for several years and the disappointment is growing so large that it is becoming almost like a mountain in their lives. Now she is a therapist who helps veterans and wounded warriors and if they were to adopt the child would be loved and cherished, it’s just that the internal desire to give birth to your own offspring is still so strong that adoption isn’t on the table just yet. In His time, the solution will come to them and good will come out of the situation. It’s frustrating to be on the receiving end of a major disappointment and in some cases it can cause a person to doubt their faith. We wonder if we are good enough in the Lord’s eyes, if this is punishment for our sins. Maybe we just need to continue trying to listen to God, to hear His message and to submit ourselves to Him, just as our Lord did when He said, ‘Not my will but yours be done”.
Once we put our desires, second we can begin to minimize disappointments in life, by making sure we are putting God first. Make God the most important part and focal point of your life. The Old Testament is full of stories of people who neglected to put God first and as a result, their work did not generate positive results. One classic example of this futility is in the Book of Haggai. In chapter 1 verse 6 we find; “You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes.”
The people planted great crops, but received little reward. They had food, but not enough to feel full. To feel better about themselves they drank, but they could not get drunk to forget. They were cold, so they put on clothes but it still wasn’t enough. Any money they earned was immediately lost, these were a people who put themselves first and God second, third and fourth. In today’s society, we would say they were chasing the brass ring, they wanted it all, but ended up with little. They had lost their way. So have we as a society, we no longer put God first, in fact, in many cases, God isn’t even in our top ten list, He is an afterthought. As a result, we are disappointed in how society is behaving, but it is not societies fault; it is our fault for losing our way, for not reinforcing our faith.
How many families say a prayer to start their day? How many families sit around the dining room table in the evening for dinner and say a prayer? How many families take an hour a day to sit down with each other and read the Bible? We have many excuses why we don’t do those things any more. In a significant number of two parent families, both parents have to work just to make ends meet. In a single parent family, in addition to working long hours, exhaustion plays a role. In some cases, there are so many activities in our children’s lives scheduled so tightly together that parents act much like a taxi services and not as instructors. We turn them over to the society and then complain when they turn their back on God.
Regardless of the excuses we come up with, when we cannot make the time to say even a silent prayer or take 5 minutes to read a verse of scripture, we are opening the door for Satan to come in and disrupt our lives. Once that starts then we are assuring ourselves that in all things, we will be disappointed, we will be like the Jews in Haggai, and as I mentioned earlier we are seeing the massive negative results of our choices throughout today’s society.
We, as a nation no longer put our faith, trust, and expectations in the Lord. In 1st Peter, Chapter 2 verse 6, we are instructed “For this is contained in Scripture: “Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.” I have had many ask me exactly what does it mean ‘he who believes in Him will not be disappointed’? They tell me, that they are a believer and they have been disappointed in life. I too am a believer and I have been disappointed more than once or twice in my life. To me, this means that as long as I hold fast to my faith, that as long as I continue to trust in the Lord, that as long as I continue trying to do God’s work then eventually things will turn out positive. They might not turn out as I would like, but they will turn out in a manner that will help spread the word about the Lord.
Once we go about our lives making sure we are doing God’s work and it is vital that we put joy in it and keep on trying. Doing God’s work does not necessarily mean preaching. Doing God’s work, means in everything we do, we make certain that we doing it to the best of our ability and doing it for the glory of God.
In Galatians chapter 6 verse 9 Paul writes “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” We cannot give up; no matter the setbacks, the disappointments we encounter along our path, we must continue to endure. The earliest Christians never seemed to tire of telling others about Jesus the Messiah, people converted because they heard, they listened, and they saw. And in these troubling turbulent times and we will get through them if we turn over our burdens to God. In Psalm 55 verse 22 “Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” Sometimes it seems like I start every day, saying ‘Father, you know what I need to survive, I ask that you take the worries off my shoulders and allow me to continue my walk with you’. There have been times when I have been knocked off my feet, but never so badly, that I couldn’t get back up. I know that He will reach down and give me a hand and a gentle shove in the middle of my back to get me started again.
Dealing with the situation when life disappoints us is one thing, minimizing life’s disappointments is another but what about those times when we think that God is the one who has disappointed us? Above all be honest with Him, we have to share our feelings, He knows them anyway. He is not going to be surprised by how we feel, and He will definitely know if we try blow smoke or con Him.
In the Gospel of John in Chapter 11, is the story of Lazarus of Bethany, although it is a story that most of us have heard at some time or another; I want to share certain parts of it with you, because in it, Jesus is clearly showing that He is in control and how we should approach Him.
Starting in verses 1-6 “Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. (Remember this story, when Jesus was visiting with the Pharisees and she came in) 3 So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” 4 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was.” So Jesus deliberately delayed going to His friends home. In fact, He plainly states that what Lazarus is going through will be used to glorify God and the Son of God.
In verses 11 through 15, Jesus explains to his disciples more about the situation ” 11 This He said, and after that He *said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.” 12 The disciples then said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will [a]recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. 14 So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.” Jesus KNOWS that Lazarus has died, He is fully aware of the situation. He knows the hurt and disappointment that the sisters must have felt because He delayed coming to see them.
In verse 17, the story continues, “So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days.” Why does John mention how many days Lazarus had been in the tomb? Because in Jewish tradition, the burial of the deceased should take place the same day they died. They also believed that the spirit left the body after three days, so now there could be no doubt that Lazarus was indeed dead.
Verse 20 tells us “Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him, but Mary stayed at the house.” This was not for a standard greeting, this was because she was disappointed at Jesus for the delay in verse 21 John writes, “Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” Martha believed that if Jesus had arrived in time then Lazarus would not have died, because Jesus would have healed him. Jesus and Martha then exchange talk about the final resurrection and eternal life and she confesses our belief in Him.
Martha goes back into the house and out comes Mary and she’s weeping and the Jews who have come from around the area, are all wondering if only Jesus had come sooner He might have saved Lazarus. Numerous people are disappointed by this turn of events and John continues to tell us that Jesus was troubled by what He was witnessing. At this point Jesus is taken to the tomb and tells them to roll away the stone, but Martha objects saying there will be a stench because it has been four days. As everyone who has read this story knows, Jesus first prayed to His Father and then called for Lazarus to arise and he did.
The same hold true for us, if we are feeling disappointed by God, turn to Him and be direct with Him, and then ask for his help.
So when life begins to disappoint us, we need to remember to listen to God, put Him first, put our faith, hope and trust in Him, do His work joyfully, don’t give up and finally speak directly to Him.
I am the Reverend Hank Wilson and this has been the Christian Life Gospel Ministry’s podcast Dealing with Life, Your Biblical Guide to Staying Upright When Life Tries to Knock You Down’. Check out our new website christianlifegospel.org (repeat) and of course you can find us on twitter (@txchristianlife), and facebook (@ChristianLifeGospel)
Going to close out with the Oak Ridge Boys and Let’s go out to the program
Pick up your bible, spend 10 minutes a day reading it, start your day with a prayer. Until next time folks, you’ll find me sitting on a porch out in the country. God Bless y’all