The Wilderness of Discouragement

Are you disappointed today?

Have you ever been disappointed?

If you are older than 5 years old, you know exactly what disappointment feels like.

It is that gut level feeling of just being sad … and at times sick over what might have been … what could have been … what should have been.

Disappointment is such a difficult emotion to process.  Unfortunately, disappointment, this particular regret of the soul, has the capacity to take a person to his or her knees in the hopeless place of “if only” … a place where hearts can be permanently paralyzed.

Where dreams are dashed.

Where goals are paused.

Where destiny is changed.

Or is it? Does disappointment actually have the power to change one’s destiny?  I think not.

“And not only this, we exult in our tribulations knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance, proven character, and proven character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who was given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5

Hope does not disappoint.

Some of life’s holiest moments are experienced during times of unwanted and undeserved disappointment.  God loves to meet sobbing, wandering children in the valley of setbacks and in the wilderness of discouragement.

He lives for the moment when you come running back to Him because life has let you down again.

When you feel that your life has fallen apart … He meets you there.  He is lovingly putting the pieces of your life back together.

When you mistakenly believe that you have been defeated one too many times … He is there.  He is perpetually cheering you on.

Truly, if you ever hope to experience victory again in your life, you will go to Him because victory only happens through Him.  In Him.  Because of Him.

So what does one do when dealing with the pain of disappointment?  What is the panacea for those achingly bitter moments in life?

Disappointment is able to produce a work of grace and power when handled with humility and hope.

Disappointment can be your finest hour when you place your well-laid plans at the foot of the cross and humbly ask Him for His appointment.

When your heart is a mangled mess … hope has the power to heal.

When you are nauseous with regret and heartache … trust gives life meaning again.

“And we know that all things work together for the good to those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Do you want to know what I believe?  I believe that Romans 8:28 means exactly what it says it means.

We serve a God so powerful and so wonderful that He is able to knit together the mangled mess of our hearts into something breathtakingly beautiful.

When we concentrate on simply and passionately loving Him … He is working behind the scenes of our lives to take every disappointment we encounter and work it to our advantage.

Although your heart may be hollow with the pain of aborted dreams and one downfall after another, hold on to hope.

Fan the flame of love for your Savior.

Trust in Him and in His goodness when your circumstances are bleak and discouraging.

Hope.  Love.  Trust.

Rather than remaining in a place of penetrating disappointment, know that because of the power and love of God, nothing this side of heaven has the capacity to “dis”-appoint you.

Nothing this side of heaven has the capacity to “dis”-appoint you.

You have been eternally and unflinchingly appointed for His purposes and His plans.

His appointment for your life trumps circumstantial “dis”-appointments.

Even if you were the cause of the disappointment … you are not “dis”-appointed. 

God has appointed you for favor, for blessing and for goodness in spite of you and because of Him.

“We exult in our tribulations … knowing that … hope does not disappoint.”

So when dealing with the frustrating pain of circumstances gone awry, what does one do?

“We exult …”

That word “exult”, that the Holy Spirit and Paul strategically chose to use in this verse, means “to glory in whether with reason or without.”

Rather than weep and wrap yourself in the flimsy comforter of discouragement, glory in your disappointment whether you can find a reason to do so or not.

You can glory in disappointment because God is still on the throne of your life.  He is still in control.  You have not escaped His love.   And … you are not “dis”-appointed.

He’s got this.  He’s got you.

I am praying for you today, disappointed friend.  I am praying that you will wrap yourself in the sure comforter of hope and then find a reason to glory in Him.

And if you can’t find a reason to glory in Him … do it anyway.

I am praying that you will experience His goodness in refreshing and extravagant ways.

I am praying that never again will you give someone or something the power to disappoint you.  Your appointment remains sure and certain.

And, if my human voice has any comforting power, may I just remind you of some of the most restorative words ever penned by humanity:

                       “O soul, are you weary and troubled?

                       No light in the darkness you see.

                       There’s light for a look at the Savior,

                       And life more abundant and free!

                       Turn your eyes upon Jesus!

                       Look full in His wonderful face.

                       And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

                       In the light of His glory and grace.

                       His Word shall not fail you – He promised;

                       Believe Him, and all will be well.

                       Then go to a world that is dying,

                       His perfect salvation to tell!

                       Turn your eyes upon Jesus.

                       Look full in His wonderful face.

                       And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

                       In the light of His glory and grace.” – Helen Lemmel - 1922