Disappointment is defined as “the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the non-fulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.”
There are many things in life that can and do cause disappointment. Disappointments are like storms that can threaten to overwhelm your heart and soul. It could be the loss of a promotion when you feel that you were qualified for the position that was given to another person. Maybe the disappointment brings sadness when holiday times do not measure up to your hopes or expectations.
What about when your children do not follow your commands? We say that they have disappointed us. Simply put, our minds and hearts are sad or displeased because our children failed to live up to our hopes or expectations.
As we grow older in life, we find that our hopes or expectations of a good long life free of health issues produces disappointments. We realize that life is not easy and that our hopes continue to be dashed with each advancing year and trip to the doctor. One day they take tests and reveal a life-threatening illness, or maybe they are just not able to determine what is causing the severe pain. Either way, we have feelings of sadness because this is not what we could have imagined when we were young and in excellent health.
Life is full of times that cause sadness and displeasure. Life is full of sadness because we are fallen creatures. Sin has caused our minds and hearts to run from what is perfect or ideal in each situation. Our chosen paths do not reflect the image in which we were created and thus we end up with more sadness and displeasure.
Our hopes and expectations do not come to fruition and then we try to make sense of the aftermath. What do we do with that disappointment? Do we allow it to overwhelm us or do we strive to rise above the clouds of despair and set new goals?
The Scriptures are full of times when disappointment was the order of the day throughout different periods of history. Adam and Eve must have been disappointed when they learned the news of Cain killing his own brother. Despite having prepared for 120 years, Noah must have felt a keen disappointment that there were only seven other people in the boat with him while the remainder of the world perished.
Surely, Joseph was disappointed when he was sold into slavery by his brothers and realized that he would probably never see them again. Yet, there was a ray of hope, grace, and redemption at the end of the account. Joseph and his brothers were ultimately reconciled and Joseph revealed the answer to life’s most poignant disappointments.
Are you ready for this? In this answer, you too can understand what many cannot or will not grasp. The answer to all the disappointments is a full recognition of who is in charge of every aspect of your life. Without taking full knowledge of this answer, you and I will long struggle with what happens to us from day to day. We will continue to be filled with sadness and displeasure when our hopes and expectations flee from us like dew before the morning sun. As James 4:14 puts it so eloquently, “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
Joseph had to go through a great deal of disappointments in order for him to finally learn the truth. Life was not about him. It was not about his brothers. In fact, life was not even about the hardships that he had endured. Was his life full of various disappointments? Yes, of course, but those disappointments are not ultimately what made Joseph such a wise person.
His point of wisdom is found in Genesis 50:20.
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
The Hebrew word for evil is also translated in other verses as wickedness, mischief, hurt, trouble, affliction, adversity, harm, or sad. In other words, it is not just the evil out of the heart of man that God means for good to us. There is a reason why you are going through the disappointments of life.
To take the cue from Joseph, maybe we should memorize this verse in Genesis 50. When the disappointments of life come, then we should be learning to say:
“As for you, you meant hurt or trouble or affliction or adversity or disappointment to or against me, BUT God meant it for good.”
Understanding this will enable us to put aside feelings of sadness and displeasure when it seems like our lives are falling apart. Instead of allowing disappointment to overwhelm us like shadows in the valleys of life, we can appreciate verses like James 4:15 where the apostle continues by sharing with true believers, “Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
Or, we can even appreciate opening up the wonderful passage in Romans 8 where we learn that all the things that God is working together in our lives is for the express purpose of making us more like His Son, Jesus Christ. This is the total sovereignty of God in action. Our biggest problem as true believers is that we fail to note this every day. Disappointments come and go, yet one thing remains sure –
There’s no disappointment in Jesus!
There was a hymn written before World War 2 that is rarely heard anymore, but I leave the words for you to consider. May they be an encouragement to your heart and mind.
There’s No Disappointment in Jesus
1) There’s no disappointment in Jesus,
He’s more than my tongue can tell;
His love is so sure
And so steadfast,
His friendship divine will not fail.
There’s no disappointment in Jesus,
He’s all that He promised to be;
His love and His care
Comfort me everywhere;
He is no disappointment to me.
2) There’s no disappointment in Jesus,
Tho’ sorrows may press me sore.
He comforts with tender compassion,
His love cheers my heart evermore.
3) There’s no disappointment in Jesus,
He satisfies me alway;
So strong and so willing to help me,
In Him I find comfort each day,
John C. Hallett © 1940 Renewal 1968 Word Music, LLC