By Colleen Luley
If you listed everything in your life that felt disappointing right now, I’m betting your list could be floor to ceiling. It’s hard to live in this world without feeling disappointed about something.
Our oven broke a few months ago, and we’ve been waiting for the replacement to come in for what feels just short of forever. The few creative-in-the-kitchen juices I had are now all but dried up as I’ve had to figure out cooking three meals a day for six people without my most beloved appliance.
Disappointments range from minor things: a broken nail, a leaking roof, or a car that on the fritz. To heavier things: infertility, a dead-end job, a spouse that doesn’t understand you. Throw in a global pandemic, and disappointment abounds.
We aren’t promised a disappointment-free world.
Should we be surprised by disappointment?
The Bible says no.
Instead, it reminds us of what kind of world we live in. Does anyone think we live in a utopia? Nope. We live in a world that’s deeply marred by sin.
Back in Genesis 3, the world broke. It was made to be beautiful and perfect and harmonious, but it’s no longer the way it’s supposed to be. And we aren’t the way we’re supposed to be.
As human beings, we bear the image of God, but that image has been distorted by sin. Our experiences, our jobs, our relationships, our marriages– none are promised to be problem-free. Because we are not problem-free.
The result? Every part of this world, without exception, will disappoint us.
Because of sin, disappointment in this life is guaranteed. However, God guarantees good things too.
It is always true that God does not delight in evil things that might have happened to you. And it is always true that suffering and evil saddens him. It’s not the way he created the world to be.
But, in the midst of suffering and disappointment, God gives us promises that help us respond to the hard things well.
God promises us purpose.
Psalm 34:10 tells us, “The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.”
Did you catch that? Those who seek God, wanting to know him more, will lack no good thing. This means that if something is good for you, God will give it to you.
The flip side of this is hard to swallow. If you don’t have something right now that you really want, it might not actually be what you need right now.
Romans 8:28 (a Bible greatest hit) says, “In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
What does God work for the good of his people? All things! Even disappointments. Even hardships. He’s working those for our good.
Let’s define “good.”
If God created us, he must know far better than we do what is best for us. Far from forgetting you, his plan and vision for your life are far bigger than what you can come up with. So we should define “good” the way he does, according to God’s definition.
In Philippians 3:8, Paul counts the greatest good as God himself. Knowing Jesus. Everything else is worth far less– so much so that it’s a loss compared to knowing Jesus.
Fight to believe that your disappointment might just be for your good. God isn’t going to waste it.
God promises us his presence.
Psalm 34 tells us that the Lord is near to the brokenhearted. This means he’s not just there when things are going really well.
God promises to be with us, walking alongside us in our disappointment. He’s present in all the joyful things and also all of the hard things.
When you put your faith in Jesus, you are united to him, and his presence is with you. He is in you, and you are in him (John 14:20).
When things hurt, go to Jesus. He hasn’t forgotten you. He won’t leave you. Take comfort in that.
This world is not our home.
Our disappointments remind us that this world is not our home. That a better life is coming. Grieve your disappointments. Long for healing and for things to work the way they were supposed to. Long for Jesus’s return.
Because when he does, the curse of sin infecting the world will be reversed, and everything will be made new. Jesus will wipe every tear of disappointment away forever.
The best way to remember God’s promises through disappointment is to commit his Word to your memory. The more you know about what God says, the less that trials in this life will shake you.
Practice praying God’s word back to him with A Bigger Life. In this podcast, Dave Cover leads you in meditation and prayer through Scripture. As you do, you’ll grow in confidence in God’s promises to you.