Dance Upon Disappointment

On January 1 this year I took a hike to reflect on the past year. Solo hiking has become an incredible way for me to connect with God. It allows me (without feeling others will think I am crazy) to talk out loud with God as I walk. It is so incredible to be alone with God in his beautiful creation, experiencing a bit of what it must have been like for Adam to walk with God in “the cool of the day”.

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From this year of walking with God, I have some things to thank God for and give him glory for. I also have disappointments from the past year to work through. There were things I was hoping for that never happened. There were things I wanted to see happen in the lives of those around me that didn’t happen. There were things I wanted to see happen in ministry that didn’t materialize. There were memories of my own failure, and things for which I was asking God, “Why didn’t you show up? Why were my prayers not answered?”

Some of you as you are reading this are thinking, who are you to question God not showing up? But I am reminded of David writing in Psalm 13:

1 O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?
2 How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul,
with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?

3 Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.
4 Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”
Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.

5 But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
6 I will sing to the Lord
because he is good to me.

Something I have come to learn is that disappointment will follow me until I deal with it. Sometimes my disappointment drove me to improve, and other times it caused me to cower away, but it was always there. When we are disappointed in our own actions, we tend to disqualify ourselves from moving forward. We see ourselves as failures who have no reason to be given another opportunity.

When we are disappointed by God not showing up, it brings on a whole slew of other problems. Now, please hear me correctly. I AM NOT SAYING THAT GOD FAILED! What I am saying is, we wanted God to do something and He did not do it. My disappointment is not based on a promise he gave, but a desire I had. This can be anything from the death of a loved one, someone not being healed, someone not turning to Jesus, or not getting that job/house/car/promotion we wanted. Let’s be honest, at those times we are disappointed. We say, “How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul!”

Disappointment not dealt with will not go away. It will become the breeding ground for lies about our identity and the nature of God. It will create a barrier between us and the discipleship God has in store for us. In order for us to be ready for what is next, we need to surrender what has passed.

So how are we to deal with disappointment? Just sitting in the disappointment or dredging up these memories to dwell on will not help. To hand over our disappointment to God is to admit: “God this was hard! I really wanted this and thought it was good… or, I failed badly in this, I hurt others and acted poorly.” We do this not to wallow in self pity, but to say, “God I give this to you and don’t hang on to it. I surrender this regret/disappointment/failure and ask that you would take it so that it will not have a hold on me moving forward.”

From there we praise God as David does:
“5 But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
6 I will sing to the Lord
because he is good to me.”

I have oft thought of Peter denying Jesus three times. That was a pretty big failure to come back from. How did he even show his face around the other disciples after that? But Jesus doesn’t treat him as a failure before or after he failed. Jesus is not disappointed in Peter. He does not disqualify Peter, but tasks him (among others) as one who will establish the church. Just like Peter, we are invited to be free of the failure that could restrict us. We don’t need to earn our way back into God’s good books, and he sure doesn’t need to earn his way back into ours.

The start of a new year (yes, I know we are a few weeks into January) is a great time to start fresh. I hope last week you spent some time acknowledging where God showed up this past year. I encourage you this week to set some time aside with God to address your disappointments. Take time to cry out to God and repent of your own failures. Make sure you surrender each of those circumstances to God and at the end rejoice in the goodness of God. Remind yourself of the truths of who God is through praise, just as David does in Psalm 13.

2 thoughts on “Dance Upon Disappointment

  1. I really like this post… and the beautiful picture you chose. It invites me into a walk with God, leaving behind past failures to walk into peace and enjoyment of the present beauty. This is good psychology as well. Some things do not break down on their own to become compost for growth.

    I look forward to hearing about your Ottawa trip sometime. Love you! Mom

    On Fri, Jan 25, 2019 at 2:18 PM The Grace of Discipleship wrote:

    > Joel Francis posted: “On January 1 this year I took a hike to reflect on > the past year. Solo hiking has become an incredible way for me to connect > with God. It allows me (without feeling others will think I am crazy) to > talk out loud with God as I walk. It is so incredible to ” >

    Like

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