There used to be this song I loved by Mat Kearney that said, “I guess we are all one phone call from our knees.” One night sitting in bed with Ben laughing in Houston, about 6 months after our wedding, I got mine. It wasn’t one about sickness, or death, or injury… it wasn’t loss, it was disappointment. It was the news that someone you loved had let you down. It’s the news that life isn’t going to go how you pictured in your well written fairy tale. Death and loss require mourning but, disappointment begs for blame because the only thing to mourn is expectations. Death so often includes disappointment but disappointment is only the death of a dream. Disappointment wants to land on someone and often God gets our wagging finger instead of our broken prayers. Disappointment changes things enough to make an impact but not enough to stop life.
I didn’t weather mine well. I cried, I fought God, and I got angry. I sank into a real depression and begged God to change the situation instead of just asking him for guidance because the facts weren’t changing. We all have our dark night, our phone call that pushes us to our knees, the question is what will we do once we get there? Will we grieve it well and ask God for guidance or will we wallow and blame? In life disappointment isn’t a matter of IF it’s a matter of when. However, if we let our disappointment with life define our view of God we will always be disappointed. I was telling one of my high school students to weather it well when she told me of disappointment with a summer internship she had been praying for. Often it starts early, sometimes later, but it always comes, God promised it. He promised trouble and heartache but he also promised comfort and peace. We always have a choice with where we run when pain hits.
I have been thinking about the disciples this week (because I’m super spiritual like that… not) since its holy week and thinking about the days leading up to Jesus death. I have been thinking about Peter because I think I would have been the same way… so confident when promise was walking beside me and so disillusioned and afraid the minute it left. When Jesus was with him he knew he was the messiah, he knew he would walk with him wherever he went…unless he walked towards death then Peter was gone.
We all have our line, the line that if crossed we question everything we once thought true about our faith. We all have our thing that we hold onto and say, “I trust you… just don’t touch this.” I won’t lie, mine is my kids and husband, and if anything were to happen to them I would have a hard time believing God was good. Even though that moment could be minutes after I write this. Our confidence in God can be wavering when we don’t know the end of the story. Peter only believed again (and died for) who Jesus said he was when Jesus did something no man could ever do, he beat death. He walked out of a grave and when Peter saw the end of the story he was no longer disappointed by previous circumstances. It’s so hard to trust God in present disappointment when we don’t know the end of the story. We don’t know if anything will ever change.
3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
In one of my current favorite books Make it Zero (click link to see it) a woman, I got the privilege to meet, shares the story of her disappointment and devastation after her husband left. She said God whispered to her, “Grieve this trauma well because I’m going to use it to accomplish something you can’t even imagine” and she does and he is faithful. It’s an incredible story… you should buy the book. I think this is God’s invitation into life’s greatest disappointment. “Whether it well,” he whispers and “I’ll use you greatly” because we always have two choices, we can become bitter or we can become better prayers.
Disappointment will happen no matter where your hope lands. I’d rather let mine be used and thank the good Lord that his redemption and mercy can turn some of my greatest disappointments into the markers where I saw him show up the most. During the depth of this heartache in Houston, TX was also when God asked me to write my story for him. In the midst of my pain he called me to his great purpose. I’m so glad I trusted him even though my story is still being written. The truth is we never leave this earth without first tasting far too many of our own salty tears but the other truth is God is trustworthy no matter what life hands us. This week especially we can nail our disappointment to the cross knowing that hope will walk out of the grave.