Proverbs 13:12, “Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a…good break can turn life around.” People of God, disappointment does not cancel your assignment—nor does it close the door on God’s presence! So, go forth, even during disappointment and do what He sent you to do!
If you are still living, then disappointment is inevitable! Disappointment does not cancel your assignment – nor does it close the door on God’s presence! You are disappointed with those you look up to. You are disappointed in those you live with: You are disappointed in those you’ve poured your life into: You’re disappointed in those you work with and depend on: Disappointment in ourselves!
Webster defines disappointment as, “When expectations fail to be met, producing anger, frustration, sadness, and discouragement.” With that said, here are some examples to help you when:
1.. YOU'RE 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 would 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 is a very befitting quote that says, “He who thinketh he leadeth and hath no one following him is only taking a walk.” (Author Unknown) I believe it is fair to say that Eli was “…only taking a walk.” I mean with a “mentor” like Eli, who would have even blamed young Samuel for taking a nosedive 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 is bound to happen at some point in life. Whether it is 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 did not 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 did not bash him, he did not talk about him, he did not 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 are 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 lets 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 does not 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 even from a bad example! Do not judge them, just refuse to make the same errors in judgment. You can do it; I know you can!
2.. YOU’RE DISAPPOINTED IN THOSE YOU LIVE WITH: If anyone would not 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 would 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 did not commit! What an invitation to bitterness, and an opportunity to rehearse the wrongs done him while plotting his revenge. But if he had done that, he would 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 is 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 is 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 did not blame dad for not being there to protect him; he did not retaliate against the cupbearer who forgot him; he did not 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 is blood, to just trust the vindication and vengeance to God alone? No! But it is 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 will at least get the apology and more importantly, you will get the reconciliation. Take the high road my friends, even when it is family that is trying to drive you off course!
3.. YOU’RE DISAPPOINTED IN THOSE YOU WORK WITH AND DEPEND ON: To succeed, you need people; you cannot make it without them! And when those people fail you, it is 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 is disappointing, Moses, but…]– “…go, lead the people…my angel will go before you…” (Exodus 32:34 NIV). People of God, disappointment does not cancel your assignment—nor does it close the door on God’s presence! So, go forth, even during 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 have ever been disappointed by your leaders? Surely you have, many of us have. But that does not mean you disown them; you do not give up on them; you do not give them the cold shoulder; you do not attempt to replace them; you do not ignore them; and certainly, you do not 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 do not like them; and certainly, you do not 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 have told Moses get rid of Aaron, you do not need him, you are 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, hardheaded, 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, disappointment hurts, but you cannot let the wound infect your assignment. Do what Moses did, take it to God, receive His directives, and continue. Why? Because God said, “…go, lead the people…” which means others will be affected by how you respond when disappointed. Do not let childish immaturity be the only way your followers can describe your leadership. Handle it, rise above it, and keep moving the people forward! Do not mess up your ministry because you are mad!
4.. YOU’RE DISAPPOINTED IN THOSE YOU’VE POURED YOUR LIFE INTO: Let us 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, in 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 would discuss it with God, pray for his complaining flock, receive fresh orders from headquarters and return to work! It is what “God-Called” men and women do when they are 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 is not easy to take one vision and try to get an entire house to see and follow it. I know it would be 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 will not work; the other person does not mind a school, but does not 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 does not quite work out that way.
We are a part of One body with many members, and every member is vital to the health and wellbeing of the whole. So even when it seems like you cannot 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 is 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 do not let it move in! Stay the course, God has got you!
Now take a moment and look at 1 Samuel 15:10-12, “…God spoke to Samuel: “I am sorry I ever made Saul king. He 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 are still living disappointment is inevitable! But might I add, it is not ‘Impregnable’, which means ‘Unable to Overcome’! You see, when anger and disappointment threatened Samuel, he fought back in Prayer! If you are smart, you will do the same!
Disappointment only delivers a death blow to those who do not fight back! You can literally read those verses and feel Samuel’s anger, after all, do you know how mad you must be to pray angry and disappointed…All Through the Night? But sometimes prayer is the best thing, because when you are hurt, angry and disappointed, your mouth runs faster than your mind. So, you tend to say some things that you meant to say and a whole lot more that you did not! But when you empty all of that out to God in prayer, He is a master-sorter, He knows how to pick through that prayer for what is really needed. Therefore, no matter how great the disappointment, take it to God FIRST in prayer, even if you must 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 is going to bring something good out of your something bad! Now, we have talked about disappointment with those we look up to; those we live with; those we work with and depend on and those we have poured our life into. But there is one last disappointment I want us to dig into, and that’s:
5.. DISAPPOINTMENT IN OURSELVES! It is potentially the most debilitating kind of disappointment because it can throw you into a downward spiral that is 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 have had so many little disappointments along the way that we cannot 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 was not 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 have 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, will not ever work again! And even if “YOU” brought discouragement, disappointment and depression to 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 me; there is so much to pray for regarding my kids, I do not even know where to start; my parents are getting sicker; God I cannot 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 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 your disappointments in life, God is not going to remove you from office or your assignment either! When Christ gave post-resurrection orders to “…tell His disciples and Peter…” (Mark 16:7 NIV) to meet Him in Galilee, He reaffirmed His choice of the failed disciple! The rest of Peter’s story is New Testament History!
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 are never discarded! He simply molds us again into another vessel He can use again.
You are not strong enough on your worst day to dismantle God’s assignment on your life! Every day He gives you brand new mercies, and not so you can keep going over old disappointments. Friends, if last night was not 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 has not given up on you, so do not give up on yourself! It is 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!
We Are three months before we enter a new year, you can finish this year by overcoming and surviving every disappointment!
“It is how you handle your disappointments that defines you as a person. If you get up after the fall or just lay, there in defeat.” (Author Unknown)
“When you find your path, you must not be afraid. You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointments, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way.” (Paulo Coelho)
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