One of our kids has been learning a lot about navigating disappointment this year - her year just hasn't been panning out how she expected and she's been experiencing the pain of plans and relationships falling short of what she desired. It's hard, because as a mum I just want to wave a wand and make it all better for her - but deep down I know that I'm doing her a much better service to teach her how to steward disappointment. Because one thing I know, we live in a world that is full of disappointments. Sometimes they're just a momentary setback, other times they quite honestly feel soul-crushing. Life. It can feel like it opposes hope, but I've come to realise that while we will encounter disappointments, we don't have to live disappointed.
I recently had to go back somewhere that at one point in time had been a desire fulfilled - it was a building that our Church family had sacrificed and invested a lot into to make our Church home. But a variety of circumstances had meant that after five years, we could no longer afford to stay there and we made the decision to assign our lease and rent a community facility on a Sunday. It was disappointing to say the least.
As I pondered returning to this building that another Church now occupies, I felt the sting of this disappointment afresh. Where did we go wrong? What had we done as a Church to deserve the chain of events that had led to that point? Why us? When would it be our turn for breakthrough?
Sound like familiar questions? Perhaps you've asked them yourself when you too have faced setbacks.
But something happened in my spirit as I prepared myself to go back to this place of seeming disappointment - God gave me a fresh perspective; His perspective. He reminded me of a verse in Genesis 26 that would be easy to overlook. It says this:
He [Isaac] reopened the wells his father had dug, which the Philistines had filled in after Abraham’s death. Isaac also restored the names Abraham had given them.
Abraham had laboured to build something that time and circumstances had obscured. But the power of what he had sown was still there and it created a legacy of blessing.
God was reminding me that there is always more going on than what we can see. Our Church had laboured at one point in time to build a spiritual well for the community that we were planted in, and our dreams and efforts had created a legacy that others were able to come and draw out of so that living water could keep flowing in that place long after we were gone. When viewed from God's perspective, I realised that what I had seen as a failure, a disappointment was actually far from it. And as I walked through the building that had once been our home and saw what God was doing in it now, rather than walking away discouraged I was so blessed to see what we had partnered with God to release into that community.
Disappointment comes in all shapes and sizes and the pain that it can cause us cannot be whitewashed. It is very real. But God continually reminds me that He is able to bring healing to my places of disappointment as I bring them to Him and let Him speak His truth into them.
I don't know what it is that you may have laboured long and hard for that feels like a failure, a missed opportunity; what relationships you have lovingly sown into only to be let down; what dream feels delayed or even dead. But I am learning that God doesn't see these situations the way that we do and that when my heart longs for Him more than predetermined outcomes, then I free Him to turn places of disappointment into wells of delight.
Romans 5:5 tells us,
And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.
Hope - a confident expectation of God's goodness - whispers God's love to us in our darkest moments. It opens us up to hear His voice instead of the voice of shame and condemnation; it is what ensures we don't live disappointed.
Can I encourage you today to take some time to ask God how He views the situations that are disappointing you and discouraging you in this season. Allow the Holy Spirit to minister with love to you.
Live today with purpose,
One of my favourite pass-times as a kid was writing. I used to make my own books and write poetry on our old type-writer. Thankfully both my writing and technology have come a long way!
It is my prayer that these posts from both myself and guest contributors encourage you to embrace the season that you are in and to live it with purpose for God's glory.
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