Dealing with Disappointment
I won’t pretend for a moment that there is a quick and easy method to “snapping out” of sadness and pain. I cannot say that in my own life a special prayer or verse has magically taken away the disappointment. The Bible is very clear that trials do come (e.g. 1 Peter 4:12). The Christian life is not a picnic. But allow me to give you a few tips that I have discovered on dealing with disappointment.
Once I was so upset with the way things were going in my life that I stopped reading the Bible and praying regularly. I neglected daily devotions and this was a mistake. Not only did I feel alone and distant from God, but I also had no scriptural encouragement or comfort. Whatever happens, keep reading God’s word! The Psalms are so full of praise to God and words of encouragement, peace and the heart-felt anguish of a man who faced great disappointment. Some Christians think that we have to be totally Stoic and cannot have any emotions or betray our feelings. But friends; disappointment is not a sin! Christ himself wept; feeling pain and disappointment. Feeling sad is allowed, but rejecting God’s Word is not.
Prayer is another answer to dealing with disappointment. 1 Peter 5:7 says to “Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” God is faithful and He will sustain you. As Elizabeth George reminds us, “Go on, knowing that God is still on His throne, He is still in control, He is still sovereign, He is still all-powerful and He is still able and always will be...He promises it!” How encouraging! Like the old hymn says, “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry, Everything to God in prayer!” Psalm 34:19 tells us, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.”
Another tip I can offer is looking out for lessons. Although this doesn’t help take away your discouragement, it gives a different perspective to the trials in life. Ask yourself, “What is God trying to teach me in this?” or “What corner is God trying to rub off me?”. Some of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt have come through hardships. One example is when our family was living in temporary accommodation between jobs and we had no clue where we would go next. I was worried about it, but I learnt to fully rely on God and abide in Him that year. Look for the valuable lessons to be learnt.
Finally, don’t forget to thank God for all the blessings that we have got. Think for just a moment about all of your blessings, write them down if necessary, but don’t take for granted what God does. Psalm 66:5 encourages us with these words, “Come and see the works of God; He is awesome in His doing towards the sons of men.”
By Elspeth McLachlan
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