Thursday, May 29, 2014

how to handle disappointment

Yellow gumdrops and rainbows. That’s how it should look right now. It’s the end of the school year and the days hang heavy with anticipation. All is hope and light. Or at least it should be.

What do we do when the days look like storm heads, dark and dismal? When life disappoints and the should haves melt away like chalk on the sidewalk. When I say to myself time and time again that this isn’t how things were supposed to go. Things should have been easier. Different. 

I guess we know for certain that life will have it’s troubles. Jesus told us that was true. But what do we do when find ourselves smack dab in the middle of disappointment? When our should haves scream loud and our actual circumstances look far different than what we hoped for?

There is hope. It lies in the other thing Jesus said. Married to the assurance of trouble is the promise for an overcomer. Jesus is the great overcomer for his children, in the middle of pain, in the middle of all that goes wrong. Jesus, the one who overcomes, the one who overcame and reigns still. 

I don’t have easy answers for the struggles and trials that happen in a life. The brain could whirl like a top trying to comprehend. So let’s not even try. We know that life has a measure of joy and a measure of pain. Sometimes it seems as if the disappointments and the sorrow are our closest of companions, ones we get to know all too well. 

How do we handle the rawest of disappointments? When the pregnancy test is negative (or positive)? When the job is lost? The sickness takes over? The money runs out? The relationship ends?

The best way to look at our disappointments is to look through them. We don’t look past them, we don’t look around them. We look straight through them, viewing them with a holy perspective. When we do this we get a glimpse of a God who knows our pain, who weeps with those weep, and who has promised to bring joy to those who mourn. We look through those hard things to watch to see how God will reveal himself, we look for his goodness-even if we have to strain our eyes. 

In the middle of disappointment I can get too consumed with the nature of my circumstances. My tendency is to forget to look up past my nose, and past my cloudy vision. I need to see Jesus in my storm. When I shift my focus everything clicks into place like the turn of a kaleidoscope. What was once hazy and fractured becomes a brilliant picture of light and color. It only happens because the kaleidoscope is pointed toward the light. And it turns what was just a moment ago chaos into perfect order. It doesn’t change the nature of what’s in the kaleidoscope, it’s the same pieces, they now just have the proper perspective. 

That’s what God does. He wants us to view our stormy days through his lens. He turns the unexplainable into light and rainbow and brilliance. Often he doesn’t do this by changing our situation, he does it by changing us. James McDonald points out the glaring truth. “We happily believe in a God who brings us out of trials. But what about a God who sometimes leads us into them? He saved us to change us.”

Those disappointments we face are actually opportunities. What if instead of focusing on the pain, we looked to see the bigger thing of what God is teaching us?

1 comment:

  1. You are so right. It is so hard to see what He is teaching us when we are in pain. Thanks for the reminder to take my eyes off of myself and fix them on Him.


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