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Dealing with Disappointment

There are loads of difficult things in life, and experiencing disappointment is one of them.

Disappointment can come by way of many things: a job that was lost, a failing relationship, or a heartbreaking cancer prognosis. Yet those are just a few of the situations that you or someone closest to you may be struggling with.

Generally speaking, life is full of disappointments and if that is the case, then what do we do about it?

First, a heavy dose of realism is needed. You aren’t going to land every promotion. Relationships are going to have problems. There are going to be falling outs. So, recognizing that those are sure to happen within a fallen world helps us manage a realistic level of expectations.

Second, we need to place our hope not on our circumstances but on God. Our life situations are always changing from one moment to the next. In an instant, a teenager with a promising career in college football can be stricken with terminal cancer or a successful local business suddenly closing shop because of the internet marketplace.

Life here is transient but God isn’t. He never changes and is always “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). His character is what theologians call “immutable”, which means that God is unchanging, faithful, and constant. In an ever-changing universe, God remains the same—perfect and steadfast.

When we set our hope on God and not on the fleeting glories of achievement or unrealistic expectations, it aids us from being crushed with disappointment when things don’t pan out.

But what about when God disappoints?

Let’s be real, many people feel disappointed with God. As a pastor, I see this all too often. Individuals give and pray to God and then something happens in their life, those prayers aren’t answered and leave them disillusioned with God.

Now I am not going to wag my finger and say “You shouldn’t feel that way.” because many people do, even faithful Christians experience this from time to time. Pastors, likewise aren’t immune to disappointment. Admittedly, I have felt crippling disappointment with God and have had to wrestle through it.

Yet one thing is clear and should be remembered if we are struggling with being disappointed with God and it is this: God has never done any of us wrong but is infinitely for our good (Rom. 8:28).

God gave us redemption through Christ, of which none of us deserve. We deserve wrath and Hell because of our sin and yet out of the goodness and loving-kindness, God sent to the world Jesus to save (Titus 3:4-5).

With that perspective in mind, God never disappoints. He has given us in abundance everything that we could ever dream yet do not deserve. Forgiveness of sins, eternal life, a home called heaven and most importantly, himself—who’s goodness is everlasting to everlasting—are graciously given to us through simple faith.

In spite of the disappointments in our lives (and there are many), the reality of what God has done for us shines through when we take a moment to remember. God has not failed you, but has exceedingly demonstrated that he always is faithful.

When you are experiencing crushing disappointment, think about how Jesus was crushed for your iniquities and how he gave himself to give you abundant life (Isa. 53:5, Jn. 10:10). Think about the cross and set your hope on that, because that hope in God never disappoints (Rom. 5:5).

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