Disappointment

Let me begin this thought by telling you that I am a richly blessed man.  I knew love and security from my earliest days. I was loved by a woman of beauty and spirit for 41 years. We have 4 amazing children who have grown into productive adulthood, making enriching contributions to the world in which we live. They each bring me indescribable joy. I have never gone hungry, been homeless, or without resources.  God has allowed me do work I love, serving God’s people as a shepherd, for 45 years. I have known respect and love of many friends. I have enjoyed a few accomplishments that are worthy. So, on the whole, I give thanks for a God-blessed life. That must be said, first!

Then, there are disappointments. In March, 2014, we learned that Bev’s body was betraying her. An ovarian cancer developed that caused her death at age 61, leaving me with a broken heart that is still scarred. Some of my dreams remain out of reach. There are some failed relationships of which I cannot think without grief. When people for whom I provide pastoral care walk away from the church, without explanation, I ache with disappointment even though I know that it not entirely, perhaps not even marginally, my ‘fault.’ I write those things without self-pity.

One of Job’s comforters observed that “People are born for trouble as predictably as sparks fly upward from a fire.” (Job 5:7, NLT)  This thing we called life is, for all who are honest enough to admit it, an experience that mixes incredible joy with unbearable sorrow, great expectations with terrible disappointment, success with failure. Christians live in loveless marriages, work in terrible jobs, have children who leave them alone or have parents who are unloving. Some endure daily physical pain. Yes, disappointment comes, even to the faithful. Let’s admit it.  And yet … we can live as ‘more than conquerors through Christ’ the Word promises.

The 84th Psalm is a song of hope that teaches the godly about dealing with the inevitable disappointments of life
I especially love the middle verses.

“Blessed are those whose strength is in You,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
‘till each appears before God in Zion.”
(Psalm 84:5-7, NIV)

The song reminds us that we find ‘blessed’ contentment when we consciously choose to make God, not our own happiness, our strength!  We are not home, we are on our way to our true home. Peter teaches us that we are remember that we are aliens in this present world who will settle forever in God’s home.

As we pass through valley of Baca, the place of tears literally, we dig wells to find refreshing. Ah yes, friend, we will find ourselves in dry barren places, valleys where we cry, our hearts broken by disappointment and grief. There we can dig into the depth of God and He will be for us a ‘place of springs.’ 

Ancient travelers dug wells which they left behind along the trails to provide for others. If we refuse self-pity and bitterness, choosing instead to worship even in tears, there will be a quality of the life of the Spirit that becomes a refreshing place for those who travel with us and who come behind us!  I fear that one reason there are so few deep Christians who know the strength of the Lord is that they refuse to dig wells, choosing instead to run for the hills to seek other comfort!

God, in His sovereign provision, is capable of sending the rain that renews us, too.  I have found wonderful friends, special books, songs that minister to my heart – experiences that are like rainfall that leaves little refreshing pools along the way.  Even though his life may bring real disappointments, the bold Christian goes ‘from strength to strength’ – the milestones of God’s provisions. He remembers the goodness of the Lord in the past and anticipates the faithfulness of God for his future – ‘from strength to strength!’   And, ultimately, he arrives at HOME.

Is eternity your true home, dear friend? Have you made God the center, trusting Him for life and salvation? IF not, then you are set for one big final disappointment for death will inevitably find us all.  It is a beautiful thing to see an old Christian who has lived life fully, who has known joy and disappointment and the Presence of God. They move towards the last breath here, not with dread, not kicking and screaming for another day, but living ‘strength to strength’ until God says, “Come on home.”

The song concludes on this note, our word from the Word today. Read it prayerfully, hopefully, in faith.

“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.
O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.”
(Psalm 84:10-12, NIV)

May the Spirit use these words to change disappointment into joy, to fill the Valley of Baca with springs that refresh and rains that renew.

_________________

Lord I Need You

Lord I come I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
And without You I fall apart
You’re the one that guides my heart

Lord I need You oh I need You
Ev’ry hour I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

So teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus You’re my hope and stay
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus You’re my hope and stay

Lord I need You oh I need You
Ev’ry hour I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You

Christy Nockels | Daniel Carson | Jesse Reeves | Kristian Stanfill | Matt Maher

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