It has been said that only two things are certain things in life: death and taxes. I would suggest that disappointment should also make this list as a universal human emotion that can sometimes be so overwhelming that it is hard to see a way through the thick fog.
And you can see why this emotion is so pervasive. If disappointment is defined as “sadness or displeasure caused by the non-fulfilment of one’s hopes or expectations”, well, there seems to be an infinite list of disappointing things in this life!
Now, I know I will be causing trauma to my brothers Cam and Rod by bringing up the recent grand final loss of the Brisbane Broncos – losing to the Penrith Panthers by 2 points at the very end of the game… so I won’t mention it. But disappointment can come from a variety of sources and can feel overwhelming. It could come from failing an exam or missing out on a job. Going deeper, your work colleagues, family, friends or the choices of your children may deeply disappoint you. Perhaps, an organisation has let you down – like a church or the hospital or government? Perhaps it has been someone you have trusted very closely – like a Christian brother or sister, or even your spouse? Or maybe you feel like your own body has now failed you and can’t be trusted?
I have been wrestling with disappointment. And I have also seen too many people turn their backs to God during these times and walk away from Him. Here is a question going back to the very definition of disappointment: where is our hope and expectation?
The Bible has a lot to say about hope. But I will go to my favourite book: Romans. Paul writes this to the Roman Christians:
And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces
perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.’ (Rom 5:2b-5)
We cannot live without hope. Perhaps this is why we are so eager to look for things in this world to place our hope in?
However, hoping in things in this world sets us up for disappointment.
But there is a hope that will not fail! Because this hope depends on God’s plans for His glory and our good. This is a sure and certain hope, guaranteed by God himself as he dwells in us by his Spirit and pours his love into our hearts.