Sunday, May 04, 2008
Dealing with Disappointment
Last week I experienced disappointment. This always knocks me for a day, I feel low, morose, lacking in faith, start getting into negative thought patterns then I nearly always rebound quickly - but only by using some specific tools or strategies. But I have to make a conscious decision to deal with disappointment. Sometimes I consider choosing NOT to deal with it, but that would utterly ridiculous.
So I offer some personal reflections and thoughts about disappointment. They're not out of a book; perhaps such a book has been written; they're just from my experiences and as such are anecdotal, personal, perhaps not for universal application.
Isaiah 49:23 promises that those who hope in God will not be disappointed. But what if you are? You've asked for something that hasn't happened or you have lost something you dearly wanted to keep? Some years ago, I went for my early pregnancy scan only to be told that either I had my dates wrong or the pregnancy was not progressing as it should. The consultant explained the possibilities and I was sent home to return in a week to see if there was any change in the size of the developing baby.
I KNEW God could work in awesome power and make this baby grow. In those intervening 7 days I prayed and prayed and wept and prayed. A few close friends did the same with us; I was hoping and praying for something miraculous....
On the re-scan, there was no change, and the pregnancy did not continue; I can't feel the pain of it now, but I can remember that disappointment threatened to crush me. I felt let down. I had to go into hospital for a small op, and all I can remember was that I cried my heart out when I came round from the anaesthetic. But as the brief sobbing finished (maybe 5 mins after I woke up) I was filled with an indescribable peace and I KNEW that God was in control and that it really was going to be OK. There was hope.
(A few months later my son was growing away healthily inside me, making me throw up as a happy side-effect!)
Martin Luther King (Jr) said: We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
This is the truth; that those in Christ have access to the God of hope;
That we're not responsible for every other person's decisions and life choices
That we are not responsible for constructing theologies to explain suffering, pain or death;
That we're not to work up hope out of our own feeble attempt to use sociological disciplines and optimism alone
for hope comes from God alone
from the Spirit who wants to hover over us, burn within us and impart hope.