We find ourselves in very unfamiliar territory – strangers without knowing exactly what to do and how to maneuver through this time. As heightened of a season that this has been, and may continue to be, we ask for an abundance of your peace. While it may be easy to cling onto the anxiety and fear of not knowing when things will subside,
Lord, let us choose to look to you – relying on who you are and your unchanging nature found there within. Allow for us to bring to you our feelings surrounding this time, and to lay them before you. We pray that you will meet each and every one of us where we are, and to see us through.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
The world tells us that we can do whatever we put our mind to do. If we wish hard enough, we can click our heels and end up wherever our heart desires most. There are some Christians who say the same thing, that Jesus is our spiritual candy machine, dispensing dreams and hopes at the push of a prayer. They say that God wants us to be happy and wants us to have everything we’ve ever wanted. We just need to believe and pray harder.
But the reality of our Christian life speaks otherwise. Disappointment is part of life in this fallen world. As believers, we shouldn’t be surprised when things don’t work out, when we face difficulty, or when life is disappointing. That’s because Adam fell into sin, we all fell into sin. The imprint of sin is on everything. Even the earth itself groans with the weight of it. We apply for a job and are told we aren’t qualified. We work hard for a promotion only to have someone else get it. We’ve turned thirty and there’s no ring on our finger. We finally have enough money to buy our first house, only to be outbid by someone else. The pregnancy test comes back negative. We feel left out of community in our church. Our children struggle in school, choose the wrong friends, or have no interest in spiritual things. The ministry we’ve worked so hard to create never gets off the ground.
Indeed, the disappointments in this life are too many to count.
But there’s gospel hope even in the midst of our disappointments. As Jesus said, “In this world you will have sorrow, but take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Jesus said we will have sorrow. We will have disappointments and heartaches. Anyone who tells us otherwise is preaching a false gospel. But Jesus also pointed to our hope, “I have overcome the world.” Our hope and joy and contentment are not found in the things of this world but in Christ and what he has accomplished for us.
God is preparing us now, in this life, for eternity. He uses our struggles and challenges to sanctify us and make us holy. He is making us increasingly more like Christ by stripping away the layers of sin and removing the counterfeit loves in our heart. So when disappointments come, we can ask ourselves, “What might God be doing?” “What do I need to learn from this?” “How can I seek him in this?” And rather than despair over our disappointments, we can remember that what disappoints us