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Monday, February 28, 2011

The Sources Of Disappointment

A Decade of DisappointmentsIn the broadest of contexts all disappointments, it seems to me, can be placed in a couple of different catagories:  circumstances or people.  It seems that all of our disappointments in life will involve our circumstances or people.  It is important to think about these two areas so that we might be better equipped to face the disappointments of life.

You will remember from our last post that we concluded that disappointments are directly tied to expecations.  We are disappointed because we have certain expectations.  Disappointments are kept at a minimum if our expectation is focused on eternal things and not temporal.  That being said we all have certain expectations concerning our circumstances.

Circumstances relating to our relationships
Circumstances relating to our families
Circumstances relating to our work
Circumstances relating to our health
Circumstances relating to our finances
Circumstances relating to our church

All of these circumstances are subject to change.  If for the better we are happy.  If for the worse we are disappointed.  Of course “better” or “worse” is a judgment we pass as frail, finite beings.  We do not always know what is “better” or “worse”.

Not only are they subject to change, they most certainly will be changed.

Our relationships at times will disappoint
Our families at time will disappoint
Our work at times will be disappointing
Our health at times will be disappointing
Our finances at times will be disappointing
Our church at times will be disappointing

The reason is because we have expectations related to all of these circumstances.  When the expectations are not met disappointment is sure to be experienced.  There is plenty of opportunity in life to be disappointed with our circumstances.

Job identified the reality we all face with great brevity in chapter 14 and verse 1, Man born of woman is of few days, and full of trouble.

Ecclesiastes is a book that vividly portrays the disappointment of life.  In dealing with the issues of life from an "under the sun" perspective we are vividly reminded by Solomon of the disappointments that affect us all.

1:2 – All things temporal ultimately disappoint
2:1 – Pleasure disappoints
2:9-11 – Wealth disappoints

Ecclesiastes 3:1-9 – is probably one of the better known passages of of the book.  This is not so much a list of things we should do in life as much as it summarizes the things of which life consist.  It basically comes down to this; there will be a time of expectation, and a time of disappointment.  Life is a cycle of expectations followed by disappointments when lived with an under the sun perspective.  The more temporal our perspective the more intense our disappointment.

People also disappoint.  This is because we have expectations concerning men.  We may rightly expect certain things out of certain people.  We may come to expect certain things out of certain people.  There is no man living who will always live up to our expectations.  No man perfectly fulfills his duty.  No man lives absolutely consistent.  It might do us well to be satisfied with he who mostly fulfills his duty.  It might do us well to be satisfied with he who mostly lives consistently.

Because we have expectations concerning men, men are sure to disappoint.

Proverbs 26:6 - He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage.
Proverbs 10:26 - As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.

In 2 Tim. 4:16 Paul informs us that all men forsook him.  The fact that he mentions this is an indication that he had expected different.

Paul, at times, even became very specific about his disappointments with people.  For example:

2 Timothy 4:10 - For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
2 Timothy 1:15 - This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

Men are destined to disappoint.  The reason is that men are weak and frail.  The best of us are not really all that far removed from the worst of us.

Paul assessed the problem aright when he wrote in Romans 7:18 – For I know that in me, that is in my flesh.

Men are destined to disappoint because nothing good comes of the flesh.

Jesus marked the conflict when he told the Apostles in Mark 14:38 - Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.

Men are destined to disappoint because the flesh is weak to do what it should do.

Again Paul identifies our struggle in Romans 13:14 - But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

Men are destined to disappoint because the flesh is strong to do what it shouldn’t.

Again, it helps to recognize the source of our disappointments.  Circumstances and people often do not rise to our expectations and disappointment fills the heart.  While it is important to recognize the sources of disappointment it is also important to recognize the danger of disappointment.
 
Until next time.....
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