Monday, June 18, 2018
Proverbs 13:12, “Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a…good break can turn life around.” If you’re still living—then disappointment is inevitable! With that said, here are some examples to help you when:
1.. You are Disappointed With Those You Look Up To: Think of Samuel and Eli (1 Samuel 1-4). Samuel’s mother entrusted her child to Eli the High Priest, confident he’d mentor and prepare him for God’s service. But Eli had a serious character flaw! He was a weak, passive parent who stood by while his own sons abused their priestly privilege, bringing shame and disrepute to the family and ministry! There’s a very befitting quote that says, “He who thinketh he leadeth and hath no one following him is only taking a walk.” I believe it’s fair to say that Eli was “…only taking a walk.” I mean with a “mentor” like Eli, who’d have even blamed young Samuel for taking a nose dive right into the very heart of immorality, when the man he looked up to failed him so badly?! But no, instead he fielded his disappointment and kept his eyes on God: The Bible says, “…Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him.” (1 Samuel 3:19). And as a result, God turned him into one of Israel’s Greatest Prophets! Henry Ward Beecher accurately stated: “Ones best success comes after their greatest disappointment.” Well Done Samuel, Well Done! So, how are we to deal with the disappointment we feel in those we look up to, that let us down? Because it’s bound to happen at some point in life. Whether it’s a parent, clergy, family, friend, business associate, spouse, governmental official, etc, we are bound to be let down by those we look up to. But does that give us license to lower our standards because they didn’t raise theirs? Absolutely Not! Samuel grew and the Lord was with him. You see, even when Eli messed up his Role, Samuel maintained his Character. He never attacked Eli, he didn’t bash him, he didn’t talk about him, he didn’t spread rumors, lies, gossip or even Truth about him. No, Samuel just lived the life of a good leader, which reminds us that we can point fingers and lay blame, but where does that get us, even if we’re in the right?! The better bet is to take the high road. Live right, think right, speak right, behave right, no matter how wrong your surroundings or the people in them. So the next time someone you look up to let’s you down, keep them in prayer and be a mirror to them showing them the reflection of what good (not perfect) looks like. Why? Because Eli died and missed out, but the person you look up to doesn’t have to. So, share your heart with them gently and honestly, then whether they agree or disagree, you move onward showing everyone that you can learn a good lesson from a bad example! Don't judge them, just refuse to make their same errors in judgment. You can do it, I know you can!
2. You’re Disappointed In Those You Live With: If anyone wouldn’t let you down, surely it would be your family, right? Wrong! Just ask young Joseph. When his father favors him and God promised him a big dream you’d think his own blood brothers would celebrate him, and celebrate with him! But instead they responded with jealousy, anger, spite, bitterness, ridicule and resentment, while dropping him in a pit, then selling him into slavery! Far from friends and home he languished in prison for a crime he didn’t commit! What an invitation to bitterness, and an opportunity to rehearse the wrongs done him while plotting his revenge. But if he’d done that, he’d have died an innocent, unknown convict in a foreign jail! Instead he allowed God to vindicate him, using his circumstances to position, prepare and promote him to being Egypt’s Prime Minister—now that’s how you deal with disappointment! Robert Kiyosaki said: “The size of your success is measured by the strength of your desire; the size of your dream; and how you handle disappointment along the way.” Well Done Joseph, Well Done! So, how do you deal with family, your own blood; that stabs you in the back? What happens when the attack is from an assailant under your own roof? What do you do when it’s your sibling that drops you in the pit, or your cousin that sells you out, or your auntie that lands you behind bars?! How do you recover when it was a relative that inflicted the hurt?! You do as Joseph did, you trust God throughout the entire process! Nowhere do we read that Joseph cried out 'why me God'; he didn’t blame dad for not being there to protect him; he didn’t retaliate against the cup-bearer who forgot him; he didn’t get angry with the whole world and try to issue his own form of the big payback. As he went from disaster to disaster God never left his side. In every bad, God produced something good. Now, is it easy, especially when it’s blood, to just trust the vindication and vengeance to God alone, no! But it’s the best way to handle it, to put what you will mishandle in the hands of God! In the end, those same relatives had to come and bow before Joseph, will that happen with you, probably not, but isn’t it worth it to trust God and let Him work? Maybe, just maybe, you’ll at least get the apology and more importantly, you’ll get the reconciliation. Saints, take the high road my friends, even when it’s family that’s trying to drive you off course!
3. You’re Disappointed In Those You Work With And Depend On: To succeed, you need people; you can’t make it without them! And when those people fail you, it’s painful. Imagine Moses’ disappointment. He leaves his brother Aaron in charge while he attends a summit conference with God and receives the Ten Commandments. Returning, he finds Israel in anarchy, idolatry and unspeakable perversion! And where’s Aaron you ask? Leading the Rebellion! When Moses needs him Most, Aaron fails him Miserably! But watch Moses; true leadership shines even in darkest of disappointment! He confronts Aaron, takes the mess to God for resolution, and prays forgiveness for Israel! God listens, then reminds Moses of his assignment! [It’s disappointing, Moses, but…] – “…go, lead the people…my angel will go before you…” (Exodus 32:34 NIV). People of God, disappointment doesn’t cancel your assignment—nor does it close the door on God’s presence! So, go forth, even in the midst of disappointment, and do what He sent you to do! “Man must be disappointed with the lesser things of life before he can comprehend the full value of the greater.” (Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton). Well Done Moses, Well Done! So leaders, dare I even ask if you’ve ever been disappointed by your leaders? Surely you have, many of us have. But that doesn’t mean you disown them; you don’t give up on them; you don’t give them the cold shoulder; you don’t attempt to replace them; you don’t ignore them; and certainly you don’t retaliate tit-for-tat with them! No, you follow Moses’ example. Take the issue before God! Let Him tell you how to handle it, not your ‘inner circle’; not your clique; not your buddies and pals; not people you know don’t like them; and certainly you don’t attempt to get back at them from over the pulpit! Moses took the issue he had with Aaron his leader, to God. And God could’ve told Moses get rid of Aaron, you don’t need him, you’re the key person to this assignment anyhow. No, He simply tells Moses to not focus on the attack but on his assignment, “…go, lead the people…my angel will go before you…” Leaders, I do not have to tell you just how difficult it is to lead people, especially those who are stiff-necked, hard headed and rebellious! But do you get to retaliate? Nope! You are still held accountable for your leadership, your life and lifestyle and your responses to offense. Your character and integrity must remain intact. You must still be above reproach, even when those you lead keep falling under it! Yes, the disappointment hurts, but you can’t let the wound infect your assignment. Do what Moses did, take it to God, receive His directives, and continue on. Why? Because God said, “…go, lead the people…” which means others will be affected by how you respond when disappointed. Don’t let childish immaturity be the only way your followers can describe your leadership. Handle it, rise above it and keep moving the people forward! Don't mess up your ministry because you're mad!
4. You’re Disappointed In Those You’ve Poured Your Life Into: Let’s check in again with Moses, Founding Pastor of the First Church of the Critical and the Ungrateful, a congregation of former slaves, delivered, abundantly blessed, en route to the Promised Land, but without a shred of loyalty or gratitude for the man who put everything on the line to make it all possible! Fresh out of Egypt they turn on Moses, accusing, blaming and berating him (Exodus 14). Was Moses disappointed and hurt by it? Sure, who wouldn’t be?! But each time he wanted to quit he’d discuss it with God, pray for his complaining flock, receive fresh orders from headquarters and return to work! It’s what “God-Called” men and women do when they’re disappointed and feel like giving up! “If you use disappointments as sort of mid-semester exams, for learning, you will learn that every disappointment you overcome makes you stronger—and wiser. The greatest success stories have been lived by those who had to grow strong and wise in that very way.” (Loretta Young). Once Again, Well Done Moses, Well Done! Leaders, once again I want to encourage you, because it’s not easy to take one vision and try to get an entire house to see and follow it. I know it would be absolutely wonderful to have the whole house on the same page, however, realistically, our churches are family trees with a whole lot of mixed nuts! One person wants the school; the other person thinks the school won’t work; the other person doesn’t mind a school, but doesn’t like the blueprint of the school, and all the while you wish you could throw all of them in detention and keep building the vision by yourself. But unfortunately pastors, it doesn’t quite work out that way. We’re apart of One body with many members, and every member is vital to the health and well being of the whole. So even when it seems like you can’t get one good solid supporter, remember you always have God and with Him you are in the majority! Moses led a frustrated, frustrating bunch of complainers, but did he throw in the towel? No, and neither will you. Like it or not, but you will pour even more of your life into the people, and some of them have eternal leaks, but that’s not your problem! Their capacity is for God to handle, you simply pour of yourself into them. God Will Never Allow You To Dry Out And Die, He Will Continue To Replenish You, His Chosen Vessel of Honor. Therefore, Understand That Disappointment Will Visit, But Don’t Let It Move In! Stay the course, God’s got you!
Now take a moment and look at 1 Samuel 15:10-12, “…God spoke to Samuel: “I’m sorry I ever made Saul king. He’s turned his back on me. He refuses to do what I tell him.” Samuel was angry when he heard this. He prayed his anger and disappointment all through the night…” (MSG). As already stated, if you’re still living—disappointment is inevitable! But might I add, it’s not ‘Impregnable’, which means ‘Unable To Overcome’! You see, when anger and disappointment threatened Samuel, he fought back in Prayer! If you’re smart, you’ll do the same! Disappointment only delivers a death blow to those who don’t fight back! You can literally read those verses and feel Samuel’s anger, after all, do you know how mad you have to be to pray angry and disappointed…All Through the Night?! But sometimes prayer is the best thing, because when you’re hurt, angry and disappointed, your mouth runs faster than your mind. So you have a tendency to say some things that you meant to say and a whole more that you didn’t! But when you empty all of that out to God in prayer, He’s a master-sorter, He knows how to pick through that prayer for what’s really needed. Therefore, no matter how great the disappointment, take it to God FIRST in prayer, even if you have to enter your prayer closet hurt, disappointed, bitter, angry, confused, rejected, abandoned, used, betrayed, lied on, suicidal, take it all to God in prayer, even if that prayer will last long into the night! Thank God, He never sleeps or slumbers! Take it to Him, then rest in Him, knowing He’s going to bring something good, out of your something bad!
Now, we’ve talked about disappointment with those we look up to; those we live with; those we work with and depend on and those we’ve poured our life into. But, there’s one last disappointment I want us to dig into, and that’s:
5.. DISAPPOINTMENT IN OURSELVES! It’s potentially the most debilitating kind of disappointment because it can throw you into a downward spiral that’s hard to stop or recover from! Rollo May said: “Depression is the inability to construct a future.” And for most of us, who can tell the whole truth, we’ve had so many little disappointments along the way that we can’t even fathom a pencil-sketch of a big future! Well, there’s an even better quote that I want you to hold on to by Albert Ellis, he said: “You largely Construct your depression. It wasn’t given to you. Therefore, You can Deconstruct it.” You see, mounting disappointments are a map with all directions pointing towards the destination of depression! But remember, anything you can CONSTRUCT, you can also DECONSTRUCT, or ‘cause the destruction of”. The other definition I like is, "to dismantle and expose the workings of." If you've built up and constructed disappointments in your life, you can also grab your toolkit and deconstruct those same disappointments. Take them apart, dismantle them and expose the works behind them, so you can ensure that what worked before in building that disappointment, won't ever work again! And even if “YOU” brought the discouragement, disappointment and depression on yourself, there is still a way to recover! JUST ASK PETER! Peter had sworn undying love and fidelity to Jesus.“Lord, everybody else may abandon you, but not me! I’m yours till death.” (Read—Matthew 26:33-75). And he meant every word of it! But under the pressures surrounding the crucifixion, he yields, and three times denies knowing Jesus. Later, remembering Jesus’ words, “Before the rooster crows, you’ll deny me three times,”Peter, heartbroken BY HIS OWN DISMAL FAILURE, “went outside and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:62 NIV).
Have you ever been there, asking: “God, how can You possibly use someone as messed up as me?” I lost the job; I flunked out of school; I had this baby out of wedlock; I have a prison record; I fell off the wagon again; I’ve destroyed my finances; my health is falling apart; my marriage is on life support and we’re both ready to pull the plug; I can’t even remember the last time I prayed or fasted or studied Your word; I can’t remember the last time my hands clapped, my feet danced or praise was on my lips and worship in my spirit. Lord my family is a feuding mess; the loans were denied; the bills are about to drown my; there’s so much to pray for regarding my kids, I don’t even know where to start; my parents are getting sicker; God I can’t get two sentences to make sense in my head, Lord, why are you still trying to use me?!
Listen, Peter failed to meet his own expectations, but Jesus was never shocked! He was well aware of Peter’s flaws when He called him into the ministry. He knew that His blustering, outspoken disciple had a tender heart, so He extended grace to him rather than remove him from office! And as disqualified as you may feel from all of your disappointments in life, God is not going to remove you from office or your assignment either!
So, Yes, You Can Recover Even From Disappointment In Yourself! Never forget, God is the Master Potter, and no matter how many times we His clay become marred in His hands, He never throws us away! We’re never discarded! He simply molds us again into another vessel He can use again. So let up on yourself! If you think you’ve ruined God’s purpose and plan for your life because of your screw ups, you clearly have underestimated God’s love, care, protection and provision for you! You are not strong enough on your worst day to dismantle God’s assignment on your life! Neither your mistakes nor your deliberate, willful sin, can hinder what God has for you! So know this, today is the day you forgive yourself and determine to be better today than you were yesterday, and better tomorrow than you’ll be today! Every day He gives you brand new mercies, and not so you can keep going over old disappointments.
Friends, if last night wasn’t your LAST night, God still has much in store for you! So stop beating yourself up, sometimes God uses our greatest disappointments as reappointments to life and ministry! He hasn’t given up on you, so don’t give up on yourself! It’s a new day, make a renewed you, and fulfill your purpose in life! God is waiting to hand you your next assignment, now get back to work!