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DEALING WITH DISAPPOINTMENT

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.    There are many battles that a Christian faces as he lives the Christian life.

1.      The temptations of Satan

2.      The enemies of God’s people

3.      The demons (figuratively) within

 

B.      In this lesson, we want to talk about one of the internal enemies of the child of God.

 

C.     Defined: 

1.      the feeling a person gets when others fail to live up to expectations, hopes, desires, or standards

2.      the feeling one has when plans or dreams are not fulfilled or thwarted

 

D.    The battle we will be discussing is DISAPPOINTMENT.  The title of our lesson is:  “Dealing with Disappointment.”

 

I.                   THE CAUSES OF DISAPPOINTMENT

 

A.    Others can bring us disappointment.

1.      How others disappoint us.

a.      We rely on others who often prove to be unreliable.

b.      We have aspirations for others, but they do not fulfill their potential.

c.       We trust in others, but they violate our trust.

2.      Example:  Peter’s denial of Jesus

a.      Peter had promised that he would never forsake Jesus (Matt. 26:33).

b.      He denied the Lord three times in one evening (Matt. 26:60-75).

c.       Luke 22:61

 

And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter….

 

B.      Unfulfilled goals and potential can disappoint us.

1.      Fulfilling goals brings joy and happiness to an individual’s life.  There is the satisfaction of accomplishment.

2.      When we do not succeed, disappointment can swell within us.

3.      Example:  God was deeply disappointed in Israel when they built the golden calf at the foot of Mount Sinai (Deut. 9:13-14).

 

Furthermore the Lord spake unto me, saying, I have seen this people, and, behold it a stiffnecked people:  let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven:  and I will make of thee a nation that is mightier and greater than they.

 

C.     Unfulfilled self-potential

1.      We all believe that we have talents and abilities that will allow us to do many things in life.  Sometimes, however, we do not meet out potential.  When we fail, there is disappointment.

 

 

 

2.      Examples: 

a.      When I was learning to swim at the YMCA.  I had hoped to move up two levels on testing day.  Testing on the second level, I tired out and had to be pulled from the pool.  I cried because I was so disappointed in myself.

b.      Peter after he denied the Lord (Luke 22:61b-62)

 

…And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.  And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

 

II.                THE CONSEQUENCES OF DISAPPOINTMENT

 

A.    One of the major consequences is deep sorrow.

1.      Disappointment stems from hurt.  Hurt usually brings pain.

2.      An interesting example:  The Rich Young Ruler (Matt. 19:16-22, esp. v. 22).

a.      This young man wanted eternal life (v. 16).

b.      Jesus told him what he needed to do.  One of those things involved selling all of his possessions (v. 21).

c.       This man was disappointed in the answer and went away sorrowful (v. 22).

 

But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful:  for he had great possessions.

 

B.      Another consequence is broken relationships.

1.      When another breaks our trust, or, when a person fails to fulfill their responsibilities, there is disappointment. 

2.      Relationships are stained and sometimes completely broken because of the disappointment.

3.      Example:  Paul and Barnabas over John Mark (Acts 15:38-39a)

 

But Paul thought it not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.  And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from another…

 

C.     Another consequence of disappointment is giving up.

1.      When a goal is not reached, we are disappointed and give up.  When we do not reach our potential, we are disappointed, and give up. 

2.      Example:  Naomi seems to have given up when she returned to Bethlehem

a.      Naomi and her family had moved to Moab due to a famine.

b.      While in Moab, she lost her husband and her two sons.

c.       When she returned to her home, she appears to have given up (Ruth 1:20-21).

 

And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara:  for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.  I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty:  why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?

 

III.              THE CURE FOR DISAPPOINTMENT

 

A.    One setback does not necessarily mean failure.

1.      “If at first you do not succeed, try, try again.

2.      Peter failed when he denied the Lord.

a.      He preached the gospel on Pentecost (Acts 2:14).

b.      He opened the door of salvation to the Gentiles (Acts 10:5-6).

c.       He wrote two books of the New Testament (I & II Peter).

d.      He died for the cause of Christ by being crucified upside down (tradition).

 

B.      God is in control.

1.      We like to think that we are in charge.  However, we are often disappointed to find out that we are not.  Things do not always go as we desire.

2.      God, however, is in charge.  He is over all.

a.      We are often disappointed when we study with someone and they do not obey the gospel.  We must remember:  God is in control.  It is He who gives the increase (I Cor. 3:6-7).

 

I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.  So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

 

b.      Our enemies sometimes thwart our plans.  God, however, is in control.  He can subdue our enemies (Ex., the ark of God taken by the Philistines, I Sam 5:6)

 

But the hand of the Lord was heavy upon them of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and smote them with emrods, even Ashdod unto this day.

 

C.     We have God at our disposal (prayer).

1.      We just noted that God is in control.

2.      As God’s children, we have Him at our disposal through prayer (Matt. 7:7).

 

D.    People can, and do, change.

1.      We have a tendency to thing that people will never change.

2.      People can disappoint us at one time, change, and be useable at another time.

a.      We mentioned that Paul did not want to take John Mark on the second missionary journey.

b.      However, at another point in time, John Mark was profitable to Paul (II Tim. 4:11b).

 

Take Mark, and bring him with thee:  for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

 

E.      There is always another day.

1.      Failure only means today, this moment.

2.      Tomorrow can make all of the difference.  What we could not do yesterday, we may be able to do tomorrow.

3.      I eventually made that next level of swimmer. 

 

F.      Failure often makes us more determined and stronger.

1.      If we succeeded in everything we did the first time we did it, we may never learn what determination is.  Too, we would never get stronger.

2.      Example:  Joseph suffered many disappointments:  rejection, lies, imprisonment, being forgotten.  He never quit.  He never blamed God.  He eventually became the second most powerful man in Egypt (Gen. 41:41-44). 

 

And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt.  And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it on Joseph’s hand, and arrayed in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck; and he made him to ride in the second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow the knee:  and he made him ruler over all the land of Egypt.  And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without thee shall no man lift up his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt.

 

G.     Others have come back after severe disappointment.  We have listed many in this lesson already.  One that stands out is Naomi.

1.      Remember, she wanted to be called Mara because of the afflictions she suffered.

2.      However, she eventually became the grandmother of Obed through whom would come Jesse, then David (Ruth 4:13-17).

 

CONCLUSION

 

A.    Disappointment is a difficult enemy.  It often brings with it horrible consequences.

 

B.      Disappointment can be conquered if we will remember a few things.

 

C.     We may be disappointed and sad.

We may be disappointed and scarred right now.

We may be disappointed and discouraged.

We may be disappointed and hurt.

 

But, we are not disappointed and defeated.

 

D.    II Corinthians 4:8-9

 

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.