Growing in Jesus Lesson 8
Being disappointed by something not happening is a sign that our heart sincerely desired for it to happen.
The other day I was talking to an old gentleman and he was sharing about how when he got saved as a young man he was dissatisfied with his Christian walk just being so uneventful and uninspiring and he wondered what that meant because he didn’t have any other Christians around who were living any different from himself and everything just seemed very dry. Then as he was reading his Bible through he read about the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts and he said to himself, “That’s what I need! I need the Holy Spirit!” So he scraped up enough money to go from Nova Scotia to a meeting that was happening down in the southern states that talked about having the Holy Spirit. After 4 days of being there he was disappointed that he hadn’t received what he had come for and he turned to the Lord and said well I guess maybe this just isn’t real or I can’t have it. The next day the Lord visited him and filled him with the Holy Spirit! I was struck by how pleasing to the Lord it was that this gentleman was disappointed. He was disappointed because he sincerely wanted what the Lord had said he was possible if he asked for it. I was thinking about how glad the Lord’s heart was that someone wanted His gift so much that he was disappointed at not receiving it. The disappointment was evidence that it meant something to the person.
So often we try to not want anything to much so we won’t be disappointed. How many times do we not want to put our heart into something so that if it doesn’t happen it won’t really matter to us? It seems interesting to me that because we were disappointed it was a sign that it did matter and is that much more rewarding when it is fulfilled. When we are disappointed it is because nothing else can take the place of the thing we have set our hearts on.
Now, disappointment is often used to take our hearts off of things here on earth in order for the Lord to get our attention and set our affections on Himself. But it also can be God’s gauge to see how much you actually want the things you pray for here on earth or how earnest you are to be about the things He has told you that He has for you to do. Often it seems that the things He Himself tells us He is going to do fall into the same category of coming against endless disappointments. I think about Abraham not receiving his son for so long so that taking Sarah’s maid and having children with her makes perfectly logical sense to both of them and the Lord doesn’t step in to intervene or to even suddenly make Sarah pregnant and speed up His plan so that Abraham won’t make any regretful decisions. It seems like the devil is always right there to give us a logical new solution that makes sense to us when the Lord doesn’t seem to be doing what He has told us. The devil gave Jesus logical ways out for each of the temptations in the wilderness and any one of them could have made so much sense to Jesus that He could have just done them.
So generally we have two reactions to disappointments. We can either trust that the delay’s come from a heart of love towards us and rejoice in faith while not letting go of God’s promises to complete His work or we can fall into despair and get angry and bitter at God or just silently depressed and than take the logical new course that the devil will be sure to offer us at that moment. Sin is always right at our door when we stand at this crossroad. It is a scary place because it is so hard to stand up against the devil’s temptations when we feel like God will never answer us.
Disappointment is a sure sign to the Lord that you care about what He has promised but it is not and excuse to then go and live like you will always be disappointed. This is not an excuse to have self pity or bitterness. It is merely a test to see if you care and is meant to remind you that the Lord is faithful and just like the old gentleman received the Holy Spirit the next day, so also the Lord is preparing to do all He has promised for you.
When the Lord comes through it will teach us that it is right to press forward in all that He has said and shown and when we are the most discouraged is when we should probably be praising Him the most because it is the surest sign that He is doing something wonderful. “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” Matt. 5:4