HOW TO HANDLE DISAPPOINTMENT
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life."
When people speak about handling disappointment, they often just want to inspire but it is more powerful to give people the tools to navigate the low emotional points of their lives. While God’s word teaches us how to pursue our dreams and with faith, patience and wisdom to see them to fruition, disappointments can rob us if we let them. When we are wounded by disappointment we cut ourselves off from positive emotions like hope because we don’t want to be hurt again. For example, if a person has disappointed us, often we decide not to trust anyone as a result.
Sometimes the things we are believing for are misplaced. In today’s world everything is fast (aeroplane travel, microwave cooking, email) and we believe that God can work a miracle that fast. But God always takes longer than we want. Growth cannot be rushed; a baby always takes 9 months, trees do not appear overnight. Sometimes we get our hopes up for a fast miracle and when it doesn't happen, we get disappointed and lose faith.
This very thing (misplaced expectations) happened to Jesus’ disciples in Luke 24:13-32. It is worth seeing how Jesus handled it.
“What are you talking about that is making you so sad?” He asked. We regularly hear things in the media or from other people that can make us sad. Maybe it is a conversation you've been having in your head that is making you sad. The disciples were mentally stuck in Friday when Jesus was crucified, but this conversation took place on Sunday -the very day that He rose from the dead.
We live in Sunday’s resurrection and just as we should reject the negativity of others that makes us sad, so we shouldn't go spreading it ourselves. Our words should build others up and bring healing (Ephesians 4:29).
The disciples said “But we were hoping” regarding the Messiah. They believed that God would send another man to bring a physical deliverance, just like Moses. When your hope is misplaced you are guaranteed disappointment. They expected God to save them one way and instead He saved them another (better) way. Instead of killing all the Romans, Jesus disarmed the law of sin and death so that no matter what kind of government they lived under, they would be free.
Disappointment can blind you to God’s presence so guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23). The disciples were unaware that Jesus was right beside them. “O Foolish ones!” He told them and gave them a three hour Bible study on how God was working through history to bring salvation to everyone.
The disciples then constrained Jesus, asking Him to stay and spend time with them. Because of Jesus we can all abide with God. Jesus stayed with them but as soon as they realised who He was, He vanished: Jesus wants us to walk by faith, not by sight.
The disappointment of those disciples had demolished their hearts. The town of Emmaus was a spa town where they would have been seeking comfort. Thinking back over their journey, they recognised that God had been moving in the situation and that His word had brought healing and fire to their sick hearts.
God is often working behind our backs and we never realise. When you are blinded by disappointment, have a different conversation: read His word and spend time with Him. Fill your head with scripture instead.