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Friday, March 04, 2011

The Management Of Disappointment

Cheat Sheet: Hints and Tips For Google WaveDisappointment must be properly managed.  When we consider the fact that disobedience in the culmination of improperly managed disappointment it becomes critical that we learn to effectively deal with disappointment.  Disappointment that is allowed to grow to unbelief is harder to get a grip on.  By its very nature it is pervasive. Every thought is held captive by the spirit of unbelief.  Deliverance at this point is possible but considerably more difficult to achieve.

I have spoken to far too many Christians who are beyond reasoning. Why? Their entire soul has been tainted by unbelief.  Often at the point of unbelief it  must be allowed to run the course to disobedience and ultimately chastisement and then hopefully repentance.  Discouragement is more easily addressed than unbelief, but not as easily addressed as disappointment.

The discouraged can still be reasoned with.  Their soul is hindered but it is not yet hardened.  It is at this stage where we can still ask ourselves the pertinent question of the Psalmist, “Why art thou cast down, O, My soul.”  It is at this stage where we can still command ourselves with the exhortation of the Psalmist, “Bless the Lord O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name.”

Disappointment is the place to deal with it.  It is the most manageable stage because it is the least invasive stage.  At this point is it about temporal things.  Circumstances or people.  It has not yet become a fixture of the soul.  Expectations have been unmet in this world but God is still good and worthy to be believed.  Disappointment has to do with my view of the world and the events that unfold here.  Discouragement and unbelief are attributes that characterize the soul.  It is always best and easiest to guard my outlook than to have to cleanse my heart.

Proverbs 4:23 reminds us of all the all important point; Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

It is important to balance our expectations with God’s sovereignty.  It begins with recognizing that God has a will.

Matthew 6:10 - Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
James 4:15 - For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

We must condition ourselves to appreciate the will of God.

Psalms 103:19 - The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.
Psalms 115:3 - But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.

We then teach ourselves the will of God.

Romans 8:29 - For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

God is not about making me happy and successful but Christ like.

Ephesians. 1:11,12 - In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
Revelation 4:11 - Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Proverbs 16:4 - The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
Romans 11:36 - For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

We then prepare our hearts to accept the will of God.

Luke 22:42 - Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
Proverbs 3:5,6 - Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Jeremiah. 18:1-6 – Clay in the hand of the potter.

We must also learn to view our expectations in the context of God’s faithfulness.  God is faithful to us in the context of his sovereign will.  God does not alter his will because the execution of it will be unpleasant for us.  Consequently God’s faithfulness should not be judged on the basis of our comfort level.  Just because our expectations go unmet does not mean God is not faithful.  He is not obligated to our expectations but to his will.

Our tendency is to look at the good times and say God has been faithful, and to stand silent in the face of unfulfilled expectations and disappointments.

Lamentations is a record of Jeremiah's distress at the destruction of Jerusalem.  He records with great melancholy the fate that fell the beloved city.  Having outlined the destruction and bemoaned it he comes to Lamentations 3:21-26 where we find these words.  This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.  It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.  The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.  The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.  It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.

In the midst of such great destruction and personal disappointment God was still good, faithful, merciful, therefore Jeremiah had hope.  Hope in the midst of very disappointing circumstances.
There are other verses that remind us that God is faithful even in times of trouble.

Psalms 119:75 - I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.
Genesis 18:25 - That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

Lastly we must weigh our expectations in the scales of God’s goodness.  We must free ourselves of the idea that things that make us feel bad are not good.  If it were not ultimately for our good and the fulfillment of his will in our lives he would have intervened on our behalf.  There will be many things that do not feel good that are ultimately for our good.

This is the essence of Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Again consider the example of Israel.

Deuteronomy 8:2,3 – And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.  And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

The Bible says God suffered or allowed the children of Israel to hunger.  We believe we have a right to never hunger.  We cannot allow our disappointments to cause us to doubt God’s goodness.
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