Wouldn’t it be nice if life consisted only of pleasant surprises, not the disappointing ones?
The other day I received news that was gravely disappointing. I wasn’t prepared for it in the least. I was shocked, actually.
God had been on a roll with blessings in my life. I guess I’d gotten a little comfortable. And this disappointing news couldn’t have come at a worse time — a week before Christmas, just days after celebrating my daughter’s college graduation, and just a week prior to my husband’s transition into a new season of life that carried with it a lot of financial uncertainty.
My family was daily looking for the little assurances that God had our back and we were constantly praising Him for all the times He came through. And now, it looked like the door to my golden opportunity and financial stability had slammed shut. My first reaction, spoken aloud, was “God, this is so out of character for You.”
And then I suddenly realized something.
God doesn’t do anything out of character.
If God’s response to my request appears out of character for Him, then it is my understanding of the situation that is in question, not His character.
If God’s timing appears to be wrong, then it is my perception of His timing that I will doubt, not His ability to coordinate all things.
If God’s actions seem unloving, then it is my trust that is in question, not God’s love for me.
Then I understood.
It wasn’t God’s character that was being put to the test. It was mine. Would my faith stand an unexpected turn? Would I take only blessings from God and not the disappointments, too? Or will I trust Him, wholeheartedly, that He knows exactly what He’s doing and perhaps this closed door means an even better one will soon be opening?
I’ve heard when God closes one door, He opens another. But when we can’t immediately see that other door, we tend to panic. At least I do.
I then realized three things about disappointment:
- Disappointment is a very real part of life.
- Disappointment is something God can use to grow us into people who are more like His Son.
- Disappointment is the measuring stick for how strong our faith is.
I also realized that this comfortable woman — who was secure in her ability, her work, and her finances — was suddenly desperate for God. Desperate for Him. And that’s exactly where He wants me to be.
I had forgotten that I had been praying, shortly before my disappointing news, for change…in my personal life, my marriage, my professional life, and my spiritual life. And yet, more of the same never means change. Continued comfort never means change. And true growth ALWAYS means change. God was giving me what I had asked for….CHANGE…it just came in a package I was calling “DISAPPOINTMENT.”
I want my response to God in the disappointments of life to be just as pleasing to Him as my praise during the blessings of life. Can He trust me to be faithful to Him regardless of my circumstances, regardless of when He chooses to bless and when He chooses to withhold?
Job once said “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15, NKJV). I haven’t been “slayed” — not in the least. So I long for the song of my heart to be, “Though I don’t understand His actions, still I will trust Him.”
What has God done — or allowed — in your life that’s been disappointing? Will you trust Him?
This article was originally written/published by the author under the title “Staying Strong During Disappointment.”