Deep Disappointment

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

We all deal with disappointment. But there is a deep disappointment when something life-altering happens. We didn’t expect it, and we know our lives will be changed.

Disappointment occurs when a person, a job, or an ambition doesn’t live up to our expectations. We deal with disappointments daily. When I drive through Tim Horton’s™ at 6 a.m. on my way to write this blog, I give my order, “A large dark roast with cream in a sleeve.” A sleeve is needed to keep the cup from burning my hand as I walk into my office.  

But sometimes the “window” person interprets “sleeve” as “sugar” and dumps a load of it in my coffee. When I arrive at my office and take the first sip – disappointment.

This type of frustration happens multiple times to all of us every day. 

But deep disappointment is life changing. The realization that a life-long goal won’t be obtained, a betrayal by a friend or spouse, significant financial loss, or an unanswered prayer.

We can be disappointed in ourselves, with others, and in our relationship with God.

Nobody wants deep disappointment. We fear disappointment, and this fear can become phobic. Some deal with disappointment by becoming underachievers, setting low expectations to eliminate the possibility of another deep disappointment. Others become overachievers, believing hard work will eliminate future failure.

Deep disappointment still happens though.

Recent psychological studies indicate that the way we handle disappointment has a lot to do with our parents.

One article entitled Dealing with Disappointment says …

The way we handle disappointment is related to our developmental history — our relationship with our parents and other early, formative experiences.

Those with difficult parents can’t shake the curse of responding like their parents to crises. And yet, even though I had great parents, I still deal with deep disappointment as well. 

What can be done? I’ve memorized Romans 8:15 as my motto for deep disappointment …

We have not received a spirit that makes us fearful of disappointment. Instead, we received God’s Spirit when he adopted us as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father” (OGV [Old Guy Version]).

Regardless of our disappointments, we can respond as our Father in heaven teaches us. Our Dad is saying that …

What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later (Romans 8:18, NLT).

In over 50 years of pastoral care, I’ve observed both under and over achieving responses to deep disappointment. But also, in some, a balanced perspective of enduring hope.

Back to Romans 8 in verses 24 and 25 …

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

HHHHMMMHHM … from deep disappointment to enduring hope!

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