Faith

What to Do With Disappointment

psalm 39-7Have you ever been so excited about going to a party or a dance or a big event you couldn’t stand it? Have you ever felt the deflated feeling of missing such a big event? Like the job interview you know you nailed. Or the date that should’ve happened but didn’t. Or the friendship you knew was going to be just what you needed.

I’m looking back on these types of disappointments tonight to see what I learned from them. Where was God when these seemingly perfect doors slammed in your face?

I know God was there, but I don’t know what his purpose was in closing those doors. And a few times I can tell you I was desperate for one of them to open, but it still closed. Ouch.

I spent plenty of time asking, “What’s wrong with me? Why didn’t I measure up?”

And in these times of self-doubt, I got angry. I got frustrated. I wanted a why.

But I learned that sometimes there isn’t a why. We won’t know why we didn’t get the job we knew was the dream job. We won’t know why some people fade out of our lives. We won’t know what might have been.

And after a while, life goes on. More challenges and disappointments come. Different frustrations and joys enter our immediate sphere of focus.

More doors open and others close.

Life is that revolving door you see in train stations or banks. You get a little time in between the panes of glass before the scene changes. The people change. The world changes.

But God doesn’t change. He’s there waiting to comfort us when everything gets too quiet. He’s there to help us wrestle through the frustrations. He’s there to show us that that place of disappointment leads us to something bigger and better if we let him work on our behalf.

That’s usually where I end up with disappointment. I stretch my self-doubt muscles to the point of exhaustion, and then I realize He wants me to go the end of the hard road and turn back to Him. He wants me to rely on the only directions I need. His directions.

C.S. Lewis writes in The Screwtape Letters:

Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s [God’s] will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

Isn’t that the place that disappointment puts us? Looking around for God and not seeing Him carrying us through the flames? We’re so focused on the pain, the discouragement and ourselves that we miss what He does for us.

He carries us. He listens to our laments. He puts people in our lives (or sometimes removes them) to help us move on to the next door.

He does what only the best parent can do – He lets us learn from our experience. He points to the errors we made and mercifully shows us how to right them or use them to have a new perspective, attitude or opportunity.

So yeah, disappointment stinks. But it’s nice to know that there’s a new door ready to open when we shut the door on our doubt. I’m glad He’s always waiting for me on the other side.

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