June 13, 2022
Author: Andrea Maher
Webster’s dictionary defines disappointment as “sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.” The keywords that resonate with me are “nonfulfillment of one’s expectations.” I know it’s my fault that I place high standards of what I expect from friendships. By personality, I tend to throw myself into relationships whether it be related to my home, work or church. I enjoy people and like to think that I am not only loyal to them, but at the moment of truth, will stand on my biblical values as my foundation — even if it offends.
I am also conflict adverse; I strive to be a mediator. However, recent circumstances have caused me to feel saddened, as I had to stand on diametrical ends of a clearly drawn dividing line with people I loved and cared about. I realize that in this fallen world all the good efforts to love your friends well can still leave you on opposite sides when making life decisions. I think what hurt the most when I looked down that proverbial line, was that the very women I had “high expectations” for, were not standing with me. I was bewildered as to how they missed the obvious truths set out before them; I was disheartened that the biblical side of the story was being so easily dismissed.
I will admit the separation felt like a divorce and the grief that followed was real and penetrable. It hurt so deeply that I lost sleep, had a diminished appetite, and woke up each morning with a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. It caused me to once again be in that fetal position of “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). I am well familiar with that space since I camped out there for well over five years of my life. It is a place of sorrow and yet insurmountable peace. A place of pain yet immeasurable access to the healing balm offered by Christ. It brought me straight back to the One who does not disappoint. A new opportunity to realign and evaluate my priorities in the spiritual realm. It was right there on that painful dividing line that God reminded me that my disappointment with man is my divine appointment with Him.
Maybe you’re in a situation where you have longed for a healing, a new job, a child, or even restoration of a difficult relationship. Do not let the situation that disappoints you become a barrier that makes you disappointed by God. There is always a teaching of faith accompanied by a testing a faith. Disappointment is the perfect venue for the test. What courses do we need to take in the school of disappointment? More Bible studies? Communication with friends? Positive thinking? No. What we need during times of disappointment is increased intimacy with God, biblical knowledge of His pureness, and an undying kindness towards others regardless of what line they stand on. These are things you cannot learn in a school or seminary.
People will always disappoint us and we must guard our hearts from becoming cynical or critical. A friend recently said to me regarding the situation, “I know that many of those women have the Holy Spirit in them and I will just wait for the Holy Spirit to open their eyes.” That is the hope that God offers to us.
So how do I respond through the trying situation? I am reminded of the powerful words of Micah the prophet which applies to every situation in life, “He has shown you, Oh man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? But to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
This is the hope of the gospel. This is what transforms hearts. This is what allows a fixed position of the heart to be immovable, while still possessing the grace to lovingly and patiently wait for others to cross the line.
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Andrea Maher is the former editor-in-chief of PARENT ABC’S a monthly magazine. Her writings have been featured in local newspapers and parenting publications nationwide. She is the author of LETTERS TO MY SON: Soley a God Story and SLAMMED: Overcoming Tragedy in the Wave of Grief.
She is the executive director of the Be Still Foundation, a ministry that disseminates hope and encouragement to families in crisis. She has been married to her husband John for 45 years and has four children and 10 grandchildren. https://bestillfoundation.org