Disappointment is endemic. There is hardly a day that goes by that we do not have some disappointments. For the cook: the cake or the casserole did not turn out as expected. It may even have been a disaster! The loss of a family member or a friend can bring severe disappointment. We can even be disappointed when our football or baseball team loses. We can be disappointed with ourselves when we make mistakes, that we thought we could avoid.
Some disappointments are relatively easy to get over. “Well, the Dodgers lost, but maybe they will win tomorrow.” When we make mistakes, we can learn from them, and be more careful in the future. When we lose a husband or wife or child or parent or close friend the disappointment can be devastating. Serious financial loss can shake our confidence, cause us to question ourselves, and to sink into a pool of despond.
God knows our disappointments, and he wants to deliver us from them. The Psalms were written, in part at least, to recognize our disappointments and to lead us out of them. Again, disappointments and discouragements are a common experience. They can lead us to correct faults, to avoid certain mistakes in the future. They can help us to recognize how important friends and family are to us.
Ultimately, and hopefully sooner and not later, we find comfort in our Savior because we know that God made us in his image. We know that he gives us gifts that we can use for our wellbeing and for the wellbeing of others. God has a purpose for every one of our lives. If we will confess our sins to him, we will always find forgiveness. “My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for our only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (I John 2:1,2) If we continue to beat ourselves up—it is because we have not taken him at his word!
We all experience sorrow—but our Lord gives us hope. If we trust in him, we are not alone. We have our Savior to help us and guide us. We cannot avoid disappointments and discouragements, but we must expect to be delivered from them. It is of no use to continue to feel sorry for ourselves or to use our hurts as an excuse for continuing despond. Consider the words of our Savior: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Remember: We are created in the image of God. God loves you and desires the very best for you. He has given us the Bible to teach us, the Church to help us, family and friends to encourage us. And he gives us absolutely certain promises for the future, if we will give ourselves to him.
Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note
Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth.
He is currently Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA. He is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. He is the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, which he established with others in 1981. Green Leaf Press, Inc. publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences. The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com. He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.
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