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Overcoming Disappointments

Many years ago, a veteran missionary gave me some words of wisdom. At the time, I was young and inexperienced in ministry, and those words were difficult for me to understand. They seemed brash and hard, but now I know the wisdom behind them. This is what she said, “Expect nothing out of everyone, and you will never be disappointed.” Disappointments will come to all of us. They are a fact of life. But if we don’t understand how to deal with them, they will produce fear, unbelief, and doubt in our lives.

First, let’s understand where disappointments come from. One of the largest sources of disappointments comes from unrealistic expectations. Years ago, when Audrey and I were doing a lot of pre-marriage counseling, we talked about the couple’s expectations of their spouse. Why did we do that? It is because unrealistic expectations will bring disappointments, which can be deadly in any relationship. We must control what we expect from people, churches, and organizations. You do that through open and honest communication.

Another source of disappointment is easy to understand. That is, we are all imperfect. That means to some extent; every organization is imperfect. Every church is imperfect. What then is the solution? The solution is to put our trust in the Lord and not in anything imperfect. When we trust in things that can let us down and disappoint us, we set ourselves up for disappointment. When we place our trust in the Lord, then when imperfect things let us down, we are not shaken because our faith is in Him, and He will never move. He is always perfect. His timing is always right. Years ago, I was in training for a group mission trip and one of the things we needed to do was a trust fall. Basically, you stand on a ledge about four feet above the ground, close your eyes, and fall into the group you are training with. You have to trust the group, or you will not fall back into them. We need to place our faith and trust in the Lord and no matter what happens, He will catch us. He will turn any letdown into a step up.

Disappointment can cause us to not take the steps of faith that are needed to continue to grow in our lives. I am sure that Joseph could testify to that. He could have been disappointed when his brothers threw him into a pit and sold him as a slave. He could have been disappointed when after he served so faithfully in Potiphar’s house he was then falsely accused and thrown into prison. Then after he interpreted the dreams and was forgotten about, it would have been easy to be disappointed. But he did not allow these disappointing events to take his eyes off the promise of God. He stayed focused by faith in the word God had given him. It took many years to see it fulfilled but, in the end, he saw every promise that God had given him fulfilled.

We, like Joseph, live in a world that will offer us disappointments. It may be the disappointment of watching your children move away from their faith, it may be the disappointment of promises made by imperfect men not coming true. It may be the disappointment of a friend turning his back on you in a time of need. No matter what or where the disappointment comes from, turn your thoughts to the faithfulness of God. He will never break His promise to you.

Listen to these words that David wrote so many years ago, “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With a long life I will satisfy him and let him see My salvation.” Psalm 91:14–16 (NASB95) I pray that you will find encouragement in these words today.

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