Jesus promised we would have trouble in this world. It's not usually a promise we highlight and underline in our Bibles, but it's a promise nonetheless.
One of the by-products of living in a fallen world is disappointment
From failed relationships to unfulfilled dreams, disappointment comes in all shapes and sizes. Some disappointments can be overcome quickly - like the ice cream shop being out of your favourite flavour. Other disappointments are more difficult to navigate and can affect the trajectory of our entire lives.
When disappointment is allowed to descend into defeat, disillusionment and despondency, our faith is shaken and our Christian witness is damaged. Discouragement replaces courage. Apathy replaces passion. Depression replaces joy. This is not how God wants His children to respond to life's inevitable disappointments.
So what do we do when disappointment strikes? How can we keep the sadness and sorrow that comes with dashed hopes and expectations to rule our emotions and behaviour?
First, we must recognize that no disappointment - large or small - can ever undo what God has done for us in Christ. To continually be reminded of this, we must immerse ourselves in Scripture. Even though we may be disappointed about a particular circumstance, God has graciously given us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. We have all we need in Him.
Second, we must believe that God and His plan for our lives and eternity, will never disappoint. In fact, Scripture tells us that "no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human mind has conceived, the things God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Cor. 2:9). Our perspective must include eternity. These troubles we experience now are "light and momentary (2 Cor. 4:17) and one day will pale in comparison to the glory of the presence of Jesus.
Third, we must consider that our disappointments may be divine appointments. James tells us to consider it joy when we fall into various trials (James 1:2) because trials are growing us in steadfastness and faith. Maybe when people disappoint us, we can focus on the One who will never leave us or forsake us. Maybe when circumstances go as we had feared, we are more likely to turn to His Word for comfort and strength. Perhaps our disappointments are the very thing God uses to draw us into a deeper relationship with Himself.
Fourth, we must trust in God's absolute sovereignty. Everything happens by either His prescriptive or permissive will. Nothing that touches our lives has not first gone through His fingers of love. And even when we can't understand why God would fail to bring about what we had hoped for in that situation, we can rest in the fact that His ways are so much higher and better.
Let's allow our disappointments to move us closer to the heart of the Father.