The second in a three part series on disappointment, The Effects
of Disappointment looks at the consequences
of unsettled disappointment.
At the very heart of disappointment is misunderstanding. What we believe is going to happen in a situation based on intuition, interpretation of circumstances, teaching, life experience, or a vast array of other reasons, does not happen. We base our judgement of situations upon temporary platforms and forget to look beyond our misaligned outcome to the eternal view of the situation. When we lose perspective and start to believe that the temporal is the end of the road, disappointment creeps into our lives.
It happens to the best of us. It happened to Jesus' close inner circle following the days of the crucifixion. They interpreted Jesus' teachings from a worldly point of view. They did not understand there was something much greater taking place, the redemption of all mankind. They weren't seeing the circumstances through Christ's eyes. Thus, the days leading up to and following the resurrection were filled with tremendous grief and disappointment.
Disappointment can have difficult consequences:
We begin to fear the future. Sometimes, we can subconsciously believe that bad things aren't going to happen to us, at least not the really bad things. After all, we're Christians, right? Although we might not say it out loud, on occasion, we get the idea that if someone has a horrible circumstance in their life it's because they've obviously done something to bring it upon themselves. They should have been more careful. They were living in sin. They should have taken better care of their bodies. Then, one day, it happens. From out of left field, devastation tumbles into our lives. It doesn't take us very long to realize that we have very little control over our lives, and something else, just as horrible, could happen to us again. The disciples were not an exception. After Christ was crucified, they were camped out in an upper room in Jerusalem. They figured if it could happen to Jesus, it could happen to them. They were terrified of what the future would hold.
We stop reaching for the good things in life. I love science. I love the idea of a Creator who meshes together cycles and patterns that work together with great precision, intricacy, and rhythm. Our God is powerful! Nature calls out to us that our God believes in new beginnings. The Springtime, the birth of a new baby, the sunrise, all echo to us that our Heavenly Father never stops giving good things, but sometimes, we choose not to receive them. We stand with clinched fists and fear in our heart, trying to protect self, trying to protect our heart. Matthew 28:8 reads: And they (the women) left the tomb with fear and great joy and ran to report it to the disciples. I thought it was interesting that both fear and joy coexisted within these women. They had seen angels. That would explain part of the fear, but these ladies were as human as we are human. Even though they had gotten a glimpse of victory, they were afraid. The scripture doesn't give us a picture into the most intimate thoughts of their hearts, but maybe, like us, they weren't sure they could survive another disappointment. So, they
held on to fear and refused to grab on to the good things that were right in front of them.
Words can become empty. Great pain creates a disconnect between the mind and the heart. There is a reason why words become useless when we are hurting, we do not have an intellect problem. Intellectually, we know the Word. We know Biblical principles. We know God's promises. We hear them being said to us, just as did Christ's followers, but they aren't registering. Ever been there? I have. That's because the problem is not with our brain. It's with our heart. It's broken. The heart requires intimacy if it is ever to be mended. Christ knows this. It was in the garden that He spoke Mary Magdelene's name. It was with the two men on the way to Emmaus that He broke bread. It was Thomas' fingers that felt the scars in His hands, and it was only Christ who could bring understanding and revelation of the scriptures to the remaining disciples. Luke 24:45 Then He opened their (disciples) minds to understand the scripture. We can and should be Christ's hands and feet, but at the end of the day, it is He who binds up the wounds of the broken hearted. As we can see from scripture, Jesus breathed into the life of Mary Magdelene, the Emmaus men, Thomas, and let's not forget Peter, all in a very different way. Only He knows our secret places. Only He knows how to restore us back to life.
We all suffer from the effects of disappointment. They're not new. They're not unusual, and best of all, they're not condemning. Jesus' followers wanted to believe He was alive, to believe the truth, but disappointment and grief had gotten the better of them. It didn't matter! Jesus loved them. He came to them. He ministered to them. Scripture documents ten separate occasions that Christ appeared to His followers between His crucifixion and the ascension. Jesus told the ladies who had found the empty tomb, Tell my disciples and Peter (Peter! The one who denied Him) , I will meet them in Galilee. Jesus met each follower in their sin and disbelief and brought hope back into their lives.
It is an impossibility that He could love us any less than He loved this rough and tumble group of early believers. We may feel the effects of disappointment, but we are not held captive by them nor condemned by them. We serve an intimate Heavenly Father who is in the business of healing our wounds, one hurt at a time, and restoring our hope for an eternal future.
A Series on Disappointment: Defining Disappointment
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Victoria Paxton spends her mornings teaching special education and her afternoons raising two fantastic sons. She's the wife of Mr. Paxton, and, also, the mother of a grown, full of faith daughter who is married to Victoria's favorite son-in-law, Nathan.