Lessons to Learn

Disappointment on the Christian Walk

A rusted sign that says "Disappointment"

Disappointment occurs when there is a difference between expectation and reality. We expect something good, but we receive something that is, well, less good than we expected. It happens to everyone in life, but it can be especially hard when we get to wondering why certain situations are happening to us. After all, when we are working hard, doing what we’re supposed to be doing, keeping up with our charitable giving, and don’t have any outstanding sins or habits that haven’t been repented for, things SHOULD be sunshine and roses for the child of God, right? This week, a series of unfortunate events has caused me to take another look at my expectations in light of what the Bible says are the real guarantees in this life.

Westerners Live a Life of Expectations

As a middle class American, I admit that I take a lot for granted. When I turn on the shower in the morning, I expect the water to get hot. When I go to grab some ice from the freezer, I expect the ice to be made. The thermostat should be reading correctly, and a step from my kitchen to my living room should land me on dry ground. But this week, none of those expectations was the case at all. My water heater and ice machine both quit working. The thermostat went haywire and produced a $559 electric bill, and a problem with the water lines left me sloshing through my living room. 

What’s the Problem?

When one or two things go wrong, you figure that’s just life. But when four different things break down in one week, it can start to feel personal. What was causing this sudden string of damage? The enemy is out to weary the saints, but the devil has no power beyond what we give him through sin or what God allows in His sovereign plan. I repented for the one thing I thought of that might not be pleasing to the Lord, but I had the feeling that it wasn’t the cause of the issue this time.

Instead, I thought God was trying to teach me a lesson, trying to prepare me for something I would face in the future. In 2 Timothy 2:3, the Bible says, “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Like a boot camp, sometimes we have to go through things in order to get our minds in the right place for our next assignment for the Lord. When I really sat down with God and asked what the lesson was this week, I believe He let me know that the issue was really about my expectations versus reality.

What Can We Really Expect?

“You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.”

Hebrews 1:10-12

This world is passing away. Things will get old, wear out, and quit working, They don’t always happen in a string like they did to me this week, but even when God rebukes the devourer, things can still go wrong. We can’t put our hopes and expectations on the things of this world. Instead, we must realize that the only true guarantee is that things will NOT always work as planned. God is the only one who will never break down, wear out, or fail us. Matthew 24:35 says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.”

The Same Is the Case for Our Bodies.

“because ‘All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever…’”

1 Peter 1:24-25

Likewise, I know many devout brothers and sisters in Christ who face chronic pain and illnesses. Sometimes prayers for healing bring relief, but sometimes the struggles continue day after day. But, it’s not because there is sin in their lives. It is a truth from the Bible that our bodies are not permanent. Some people have more issues than others, but everyone experiences pain and sickness. And, when we endure those physical hardships but still serve the Lord with a cheerful heart, others take notice. Some of the greatest witnesses for God go through terrible physical pain, but their spirits shine brighter coming from the brokenness of their bodies. And, when those bodies finally do wear out completely, our new habitation will be so much better. 2 Corinthians 5:1 “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

We Should Put Our Hopes in Jesus

Just because we are children of God doesn’t mean that nothing will ever go wrong. In fact, the Bible pretty much guarantees that it will. John 16:33 says, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” But, Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Even when the things of this earth and even our own bodies break down, God always makes a way for us to endure. He helps us and reminds us that whatever we face in this life, He is with us.

Instead of disappointment when things go wrong, we should take it as one more reminder that the things of this world are temporary; they are all passing away. Only God and His Word are eternal. We can count on Him to do what He says He will do and be what He says He is in every situation. And that’s an expectation that will never let us down.

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