Handling Disappointment


Patrick on deck at the Pfeiffer University pool

A few days ago, the athletic director at my son’s college called Patrick and the other members of the varsity swim team together and told them the university had decided to stop having a swim team. In one fell swoop, hopes and dreams were slashed; great sorrow and disappointment took their place.

Disappointment can overtake us at any point in our lives. How do we handle it? Jesus gives us a great example from His experience in the Garden of Gethsemane:

Tell God how you feel

When Jesus knew He faced the impending terror and pain of the cross, He didn’t deny His feelings. He told His Father that He wished things were different. He expressed how He felt and what He wanted. We are told He was “very distressed and troubled” (Mark 14:33, NASB). He even said, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death” (Mark 14:34, NASB). He told His Father, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for Thee; remove this cup [of suffering] from Me” (Mark 14:36).

We are told to pour out our hearts before God (Psalm 62:8). We must take all of our disappointments to Him. He knows how we feel, and He always welcomes us with open arms. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1, NASB).

Ask others to pray for you

During his Garden experience, Jesus took aside his closest friends Peter, James, and John, and He confided in them and asked for their help. “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me” (Matthew 26:38, NASB). He was asking them to pray on His (and their) behalf. He told them to “keep watching and praying” (Matthew 26:41, NASB).

My son Patrick posted on Facebook shortly after the swim team announcement, “I would like to ask that you lift up my team in your prayers through this tough time that we’re facing.” I know many people are praying for the members of the Pfeiffer University Men’s and Women’s Swim Teams. Prayer keeps us connected to God, and to one another. God hears our prayers, and He moves in and through them (James 5:16). As Rev. Charles Stanley has said, “Fight all your battles on your knees and you win every time.”

Choose to trust God

Jesus’ struggle was so great that “His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:44, NASB). Yet, in the end, He gave His situation—and His life—over to His Father . . . because Jesus trusted Him.

Three times Jesus said, “not my will, but Thine be done” (Luke 22:42, NASB). He knew that His Father loved Him, that His Father loved mankind, and that His Father’s will was “good, acceptable, and perfect” (Romans 12:2, NASB). He knew that His Father was both wise and loving, that He saw the total picture and had the perfect plan. That’s why, “while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:23-24, NASB).

Something beautiful came from Jesus’ time of suffering, disappointment, and sorrow. He was honest about His feelings. He invited others to come alongside Him to help Him be faithful, and He allowed His Father to work out His perfect plans through the pain. May we follow His example and seek to do the same.

Question: How can we pray for you regarding your disappointments? Comment at the link below.

Susan Jane King

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