Facing the Sting of Disappointment

I’ve experienced a great amount of disappointment in my life. From almost losing my life in a car crash and being left with lingering lifelong ramifications to the loss of dear friends to seeing the toll that a life in ministry can take on family and home life. I’ve been disappointed with myself, others, and even Papa God.

If we don’t face disappointment, it can fester and turn into bitterness and when bitterness takes root, it can sprout and create a big mess (Hebrews 12:15).

 So, what do you do when the failures and losses of life bring about disappointment? 

Expectations lead to disappointment, while expectancy leads to hope. Often times, our disappointments are rooted in the failure of life to meet our expectations. In order to shift ourselves from expectation to expectancy, we have to be willing to let go of control of the outcome. That is where our trust enters the equation. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path.”

It’s important that we do not miss a key part of this scripture. It implores us to trust God, but it follows that with the key to trusting Him. “Lean not on your own understanding.” Many of us want to trust, but we don’t want to let go. Letting go is an integral part of trusting because in order to lean not on our own understanding and ideas, we must to first be willing to let go of the façade of control. We can pray for God’s restoration in our situations, but until we surrender our situations to the restorer, we will carry the responsibility of the outcome.

Letting go is not easy. It can be very painful. If we built our expectations on the idea that if we are in control, the outcome will be good, we not only have to let go of control of the situation, but also the lie that we know better than God. When we surrender anything to Him, His return is always better than we could’ve ever imagined! It might look completely different than what we expected, but He always gives us HIS best, which far exceeds our limited thinking.

Isaiah 61:3 displays for us the nature of God’s restorative character.

It says, and provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”

God wants to give us beauty for our ashes. He wants to give us gladness for our mourning and praise for despair. In order to open up and receive this restoration, we must first surrender the right to our control and our own understanding and invite the journey of trust with Him. He is a kind Father and is willing to show us His trustworthiness. But, it all begins with our willingness to surrender.

God cares about our disappointment. He doesn’t hurry us through our pain. He cares about every movement of our hearts. He even cares when we have failed expectations. He wants to sit with us and love on us in the midst of our disappointment. He loves us so much right where we are, and thankfully, loves us too much to leave us there!

Corrie ten Boom, a Holocaust survivor who saved the lives of Jews in World War 2 said it so well.

“There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”

You can’t get over disappointment by ignoring it. Acknowledge it, invite God into it, and allow yourself to feel the sting of it. It is only in acknowledging our pain and inviting Him into it that we can allow His love to bring about healing to that place. You shouldn’t be ashamed for feeling disappointed. You should feel human. It’s a reality of life. But, the beauty of being a Son or Daughter of the king is that disappointment may be a reality, but hope is our portion.

Release your need to control the outcome, invite Him into your disappointment, and watch Papa God turn your expectations into expectancy and your disappointment into hope!

But, be careful, this kind of hope can lead to overflowing joy that leads to dancing!


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You can find me on all social media platforms @leifhetland.