If we lived in a fairy-tale world, then every aspect of life would go according to our desires and make us happy in each instance. In the real world, however, that is not how it happens, is it? Sometimes we are disappointed with the way certain activities go on in society. On occasion we are disappointed in the words and actions of certain individuals. And, yes, sometimes we disappoint ourselves. When we have to deal with disappointment in our lives, what can we do? Let us continue our study together.
(8) I should ask myself, “Is my disappointment only self-centered?” Am I thinking only about myself, about my pain, my sorrow, and my frustration? The Bible says, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). Such a mindset is required in those that want to be like Jesus.
(9) When we encounter something in life that disappoints us, we may need to get busy and set new goals or readjust our goals. What about the talented young woman who is one of the top piano players in her area of the country, but now her hands will not function properly due to a rare muscle disease? It is certain that she will be disappointed because her days of playing the piano well are now in the past. What can she do? She can set new goals. She can use other abilities that God has given her. A brother in the Lord may be disappointed that he is seldom asked to lead singing, but he can redirect his energy and use his talents in other areas. If we are unable to achieve a goal that we have set for ourselves, we need to accept the reality of such, reconsider what we are trying to do or accomplish, and move on with a positive attitude.
(10) When we face disappointment, it helps to get busy and go to work serving others. When we focus on other people and their needs, two things happen. Number one, by paying attention to the needs of others, we will dwell less on our own problems or frustrations. Number two, we learn the joy of service. It is a win-win situation. We help others and at the same time help ourselves emotionally. Remember what Jesus said about serving: “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all . . . For even the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom . . .” (Mark 9:35; 10:45).
(11) On those occasions when other people disappoint us, let us keep in mind that all of us are human. That means that we all have our moments of weakness. The spirit might be willing, “but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). Yes, there is a time to warn or even rebuke those who have failed spiritually. As we consider their flaws, however, let
us not forget to examine ourselves (Matthew 7:1-5).
(12) For many of us, our biggest disappointments in life come about when we disappoint ourselves. If what we have done (or failed to do) is sinful, then we need to repent of our wrongdoing. Simon was told to repent and pray for forgiveness (Acts 8:2,122). Once we have done that, we need to have complete confidence in the Lord’s promise not to remember our sins any longer (Hebrews 8:12). After we have been reconciled to God, although we still might have a terrible feeling inside us due to our transgression, we need to put it behind us and move on with our lives. God cannot use us effectively until we stop looking back. Remember what happened to Lot’s wife (Luke 17:32). Like Paul, we need to press ahead (Philippians 3:13,14).
(13) In some cases, when we have encountered something that disappoints us, we need to grow up, get over it, and be quiet about it! Those may sound like cold, harsh words, but there are instances when teenagers and adults act like little children. Some immature kids will kick and yell and hit others when they lose a game. If I did not win a game, if I did not get the top score on an exam, if I did not get to watch my favorite TV program, if I did not get to go to an event that I had my heart set on attending, for all of these things I must accept this reality: things did not turn out like I had hoped. I can make myself and others miserable by talking about them over and over, but there is another option available. What is that? I can grow up, get over it, be quiet about it, and move on. “. . . in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature” (1 Corinthians 14:20).
(14) When disappointment strikes our hearts, let us remember that we have so many blessings from God for which we ought to be grateful! Whether those blessings are material (Matthew 5:45) or spiritual (Ephesians 1:3), they are bountiful. Let us be thankful for them and focus on what we have, rather than cry about what we may be lacking.
(15) Here is one final exhortation. When we have to deal with disappointment, it is highly helpful to spend time with other faithful saints of God and enjoy their fellowship. It is a great joy to have fellowship with the Godhead and our fellow-saints (1 John 1:3). When the apostle Paul was imprisoned in Rome, a Christian by the name of Onesiphorus came to visit him and refresh him (2 Timothy 1:16-18). Would we think that Paul was disappointed that he was forced to be a prisoner instead of traveling freely to spread the gospel? Of course. Yet, one factor that helped him to deal with his trials was to enjoy the fellowship of other children of God. Such fellowship really does help.
— Roger D. Campbell
TRUTH is published monthly by the Klang church of Christ in order to help educate, edify, encourage, and equip the saints of God.