This post was written before my church family suddenly and unexpectedly lost our dear pastor and friend, Bro. Jared Decker, on December 28th. Reading back over it, I know it to be just as true today as it was before our tremendous loss and heartache. This post deals primarily with lesser disappointments of life, but the points given are just as true for the crushing disappointments we all face, as well. May God bless us as we trust Him through it all!
My all-time favorite place to get breakfast is Chick-fil-A. Can I get an Amen? I mean who doesn’t like chicken minis?
As much as I like my chicken minis, I don’t usually head out to get them until after 10:00 a.m. Praying all the way there, I am usually screeching into the line at around 10:20. They stop serving breakfast at 10:30. I know this. Yet, I keep doing it anyway. I think I simply enjoy the game of seeing how close I can cut it.
The closest I ever came was the cashier telling me that I got the last minis of the day! I felt so accomplished! ?But the other day…not so much. I apparently managed to get the last minis again. However, I didn’t know this until I got to the window, and the girl told me that they didn’t have anymore minis.
But, I had just seen them hand out two bags to the car ahead of me! Which the people handed back (evidently not their order). Of course, those had to have been my minis! Which then had to be trashed after having been given out to other people.
Yeah, I was disappointed. Among a couple other emotions, I am ashamed to say.
Life can be disappointing at times. But, hey, that’s life.
And many times those disappointments aren’t as trivial as what I just described.Sometimes the disappointment is serious like debilitating sickness that just doesn’t get better. Or, the unfaithfulness of a spouse. Or, the loss of a loved one, either by death or divorce.
“Disappointment” isn’t a strong enough word for those times.Then there are other disappointments that aren’t quite as serious, but still…disappointing. Such as…
not being able to find a good job
not being able to retire just yet
not being able to afford a new car when yours is about to fall apart
not being approved for a loan
not being able to take that vacation, or any vacation…again
missing a deadline for something
Are you going through a disappointing time in your life right now?
Maybe your disappointments aren’t life-altering, but it just seems like nothing is going your way. And life just feels like a series of never-ending disappointments.
Solomon knew disappointment.
I think what Solomon describes in our reading in Ecclesiastes this week is his own series of disappointments.
To say that Solomon’s search for meaning for his life was disappointing, is a huge understatement. After a series of disappointments, Solomon’s outlook was quickly turned from discontent into despair and depression. (Ecclesiastes 4:2)
Solomon tried relentlessly to find meaning, or purpose, for life in this world. And couldn’t seem to find it. He looked everywhere. Tried everything that his wealth and vast resources afforded him.
During Solomon’s lifetime, he explored most every form of worldly pleasure there is. He sought fulfillment in…intellectual pursuit (Ecclesiastes 1:13-18), laughter and fun (Ecclesiastes 2:1), alcohol (Ecclesiastes 2:3), work (Ecclesiastes 2:4), wealth and possessions (Ecclesiastes 2:7-8), and women (Ecclesiastes 7:26-28). Only to discover that everything is, at best, only a temporary diversion.
Talk about disappointment. Solomon, as King of Israel and the wealthiest man ever to live, had all that a man could ever want of this life’s pleasures and resources. But could not find happiness, meaning, and fulfillment. His life had no joy.
Until he learned, finally, how to handle his disappointments and where to look for fulfillment…the God of all heaven and earth!Jesus says to us…
These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. John 15:11
Life can truly be very disappointing at times, but God wants a life of joy for you. And therefore, will be there to help you smile even in the most disappointing of times.
How To Smile Through Our Disappointments
So, how can we keep smiling instead?
~Don’t play the comparison game.
For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12
When we compare our lives with that of others, we tend to compare our situation with those we view as more fortunate than we are. However, this isn’t wise, for we don’t truly know all that they themselves have gone through, or are going through, in their lives.
Could we trade places with them, we’d probably discover that we’d rather have our own problems than theirs.
So, instead of making comparisons, we should…
~Count our blessings!
Our disappointment could be one that is so much worse! And even if it is a very serious disappointment, like loss of a loved one, we still have so many blessings! We just have to refocus on remembering those. And practice thankfulness.Remembering what Solomon finally realized…
It isn’t what we have, but rather Who we have, that brings us fulfillment and meaning and joy.
Therefore, it only makes sense that we…
~Pray and seek God.
When disappointments come and we begin to feel discouraged, we can follow David’s example. We can encourage ourselves in the Lord like he did, praying and seeking God and His promises.
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him,…but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:6
This is when those verses we’ve memorized will really be a help to us, to lift us up and remind us of God’s love and care for us. These promises will then help us to…
~Determine to trust God and be content with what He provides.
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Philippians 4:11
Paul wrote these words from Rome in prison!
And this is how Paul handled his prison stay in Philippi.
And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.Acts 16:25
Being content, and even joyful, under the most trying of circumstances is possible. We can keep joy in our hearts and a smile on our face as we…
~Remind ourselves that God has a plan, is working that plan, and wants only good for us.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11
Therefore, if God does not allow something in our life, we can know that it would not have been good for us in the long run.
And whatever He does allow, we can trust that God will use it for good for us and for others who love Him.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Instead of being discontent and discouraged, we can…
~ Accept that we cannot know the future, but God does…
So whatever we weren’t able to have or do…could we know the future…we wouldn’t have really wanted anyway! If our disappointment involves someone else, then in order to have joy again, we must…
~Release it, forgive, and move on…
Remembering that God is the One in control…not any person’s decisions or actions. Therefore, there is no need to hold a grudge or harbor resentment over the issue. The only way to deal with that disappointment, and not let it rob us of our joy, is to give it to God and forgive.
In other words, follow Joseph’s example.
Joseph was able to forgive his brothers and move on in life, because he understood that God was in control of his life and was working His purpose in all the disappointments He allowed Joseph to live through. Since Joseph’s vision wasn’t clouded by resentment, he was able to see the good that God had for him even in the midst of each of his disappointing circumstances.
And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Genesis 50:19-20
Knowing this, we can…
~Choose to Rejoice!
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4
Disappointments are part of the “alway” of life. Therefore, we are to rejoice…smile anyway…even when life is disappointing.
By realizing that our disappointments are opportunities to trust and love God, and grow in faith!
When we pray and get our request, we think, “Wow! God answered!” And our faith is increased.
But when we pray and don’t get our request, we have opportunity to decide to trust and love God anyway. To say with the Psalmist—
I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. Psalm 18:1
Our disappointments put us in a place to have to exercise and stretch our faith. And when we choose to trust God anyway, to trust without seeing the fulfillment of our desires, God is greatly glorified and honored!
And we come to know Him in ways we could not have otherwise.
And then…the disappointment becomes a blessing! One to smile about! If we will remember these things, then I think we can even make it to the point that we come to be thankful for the disappointments!
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Ephesians 5:20
And smile anyway!
Because if for no other reason, we know that we are seeing God working in our life. And because we know…He’s not wasting our pain! (Romans 8:28)
Drawing nigh to Him,
LET’S TALK ABOUT IT.
Are you going through a disappointing time right now? How are you dealing? Well? Or, not so well?