Dr. Lenore Campbell wrote, “Early in my career as a doctor I went to see a patient who was coming out of anesthesia. Far off church chimes sounded and the patient murmured, ‘I must be in heaven.’ Then she saw me. ‘No, I can’t be,’ she said. ‘There’s Dr. Campbell.'”
Disappointment – we’ve all had to deal with it at times, haven’t we? Even people who have been known as successes in life have faced disappointment. Alexander the Great conquered Persia, but broke down and wept because his troops were too exhausted to push on to India. John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the U.S. wrote in his diary: “My life has been spent in vain and idle aspirations, and in ceaseless rejected prayers that something would be the result of my existence beneficial to my species.” Robert Louis Stevenson wrote words that continue to delight and enrich our lives, and yet what did he write for his epitaph? “Here lies one who meant well, who tried a little, and failed much.”
Everybody faces disappointment, but how are Christians to deal with it? The answer boils down to trust in Jesus Christ. That means not just professing our trust, but practicing it. When we know that He is Life, the sting of disappointment finds a healing salve in the truth of His Word.
I have found a particular verse in the Bible to be a good antidote to disappointment in my circumstances. It is found in Philippians 1:6, where Paul wrote: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” This verse is a reminder that the flow of our lives isn’t up to us, but rests on the shoulders of God Himself. This verse promises that He started His work in you and He will be the one to sustain it. At the risk of oversimplifying the matter, “God’s going to do what God’s going to do.”
We get into trouble when we think that our agenda has to be fulfilled in life. It isn’t up to us to fulfill our plans. That’s God’s business. Our role is simply to trust Him in every circumstance.
Are there disappointments you face in your own life today? Place them into the hands of a sovereign God who loves you and already has the details of life worked out for you. It’s okay to feel disappointment. That’s normal, but don’t be dominated by it. Instead, acknowledge your feelings to the Lord and then lay your expectations at His feet. Then move forward, being assured that He has your best interest at heart and will work out all things for your ultimate good and His highest glory.