How often do you have to change your plans? How many times have you counted on something that seemed sure to happen, and then it didn’t? How about those situations when you prayed, waited on God, gained an inner witness He would be working to bring everything about, it appeared He was–just as you thought!–and then… everything switched?
It’s the last issue I think that troubles us most: “I just don’t understand it.” The Lord seemed to have it all together, and then—it all falls apart! When that happens, and disappointment begins to clutch at your emotions, what can you do? This is what helps me:
1. Don’t decide “Everything’s over!”
Because a glitch gets in my plans, or an absolute barricade, it does not mean my life is ended. Our lives are in God’s hands no matter what. Jesus said, “My Father, who has given them (that’s us!) to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10:29). Circumstances never–NEVER!–change the fundamental and ultimate absolute foundation of a believer’s life: Our lives are in God’s hands.
2. Let God’s peace take command.
The only thing that ever hinders peace is someone doesn’t surrender. So, when upset, dismay, frustration with things or deep disappointment come, “Let the peace of God rule in your heart” (Colossians 3:15). To surrender to God is never the same as surrendering to the situation or to whatever works of hell may be afoot. It is an act of choice that overrules whatever of chance seems to be trying your soul, stretching your faith or overthrowing your confidence. Say, “Lord God Almighty, I give this to you–completely!” Then, with praise upon praise, leave it there (Philippians 4:6, 7).
3. Commit to hope–there’s reason to!
For most people you meet, hope is a “cross-my-fingers” kind of thing shot through with guesswork. For the believer, hope is only sure things that aren’t here YET! Our hope is grounded in unshakeable promises. While I may misunderstand God’s timing. God’s ways and even wonder about God’s presence, He doesn’t change. It is impossible for God to lie, thus we have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:18, 19).
4. Let go of any need to “look good.”
Much of our disappointment is rooted in our fears, but the greatest of those liars is the fear our change in plans or our apparent setback will embarrass us before other people. Sure! “Sure” someone may say, “You don’t know what you’re doing!” There may be people who question your relationship with God or fly in the face of your disappointment with even more discouraging remarks. Don’t allow the need to appear in perfect control of your life and circumstances put you in the position of trying to justify everything. Don’t mind saying, “Maybe I was wrong,” even if you’re sure you weren’t, but just don’t understand it all yet.
5. Praise the Lord–quietly.
Give yourself over to the spirit of faith, which is the Holy Spirit. Don’t paste on a fake smile and give forth with the religious, “Praise the Lord anyway!” Do praise Him. Do stand in faith! We cannot see the way God is going to work where we are right now, but be sure, He will. “‘For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has mercy on you” (Isaiah 54:10).
Disappointment is changed by altering only one letter–the first one–to “H.” Turn disappointment into His appointment. Then, stand still and watch Him keep His appointment with your destiny.