Disappointment is to be expected in this life. We all have times when life doesn’t go as planned: broken relationships, unmet expectations, missed opportunities and other disappointing situations. As Christians, we’re not immune to disappointment because we live in a fallen world. However, we have a powerful and loving God who helps us in disappointing situations. In John 16:33, Jesus warned us that we’d encounter disappointment in our earthly lives, but he also encouraged us to rely on His help to overcome it.

Romans 15:13 promises that the Spirit will give us the hope we need if we ask the Holy Spirit to help us. Still, God never wastes hardship. When we trust Him, He’ll bring us through disappointment and help us find peace of mind and joy in all circumstances. Here are some ways that we can wrestle with disappointment and handle it well.

Acknowledge your emotions.

We need to process and acknowledge these disappointing times healthily instead of ignoring or suppressing them. The Bible confirms the validity of these emotions and encourages us to take them to God in prayer. In the Book of Psalms, people pray emotionally, and Psalm 34:17-18 says the Lord hears the righteous who cry out and deliver them from their troubles. When we go through disappointing circumstances, we find strength in knowing that God is near us, ready to listen to our cries and offer healing and comfort. As we process our emotions, we also find encouragement by reflecting on Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, where He experienced anguish in a situation the human side of Him doesn’t want to go through: His pending crucifixion.

Matthew 26:39 shares Jesus’ prayer to His Father, where He asked God to take this burden from Him if it’s His will. His surrender to God’s will and vulnerability serves as a powerful example for us as we process our emotions in times of disappointment. It’s okay to be honest with God about our disappointment. In fact, God wants us to pray genuinely from our hearts. Psalm 55:22 reminds us that God will help us when we express our concerns to Him.

Remember God’s sovereignty.

Amid disappointment, it’s easy to lose sight of God’s authority, the idea that God controls all things, even when life doesn’t match our plans. Remembering God’s sovereignty helps us trust that He has a purpose for our lives, even when we go through disappointment. Isaiah 55:8-9 reminds us that His ways are higher than our ways. The way specific situations happen in our lives might disappoint us from our viewpoint, but from God’s eternal perspective, they might still benefit us. In Jeremiah 29:11, God reminds us that He has plans for us, plans to give us hope and a future. When we trust in God’s authority, we can find peace knowing that His plans are for our good, even when we don’t understand them.

In the Old Testament, Joseph had to deal with great disappointment after being sold into slavery by his brothers and imprisoned. Still, God helped him and used those circumstances to save other people besides Joseph. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph said he knew his brothers intended to harm him, but God used it for good to accomplish what was being done. Joseph’s story reminds us that God can redeem even our greatest disappointment for good.

Assess your expectations.

Disappointment typically results from unmet expectations. As Christians, it’s essential to evaluate our expectations and align them with God’s promises and truth. Are we expecting more from circumstances or people than we are from God? Are our expectations formed in worldly desires or God’s eternal promises? In Proverbs 19:21, we’re reminded that the Lord’s purpose will always prevail, so when we align our expectations with God’s purpose and promises, we can find greater happiness and trust God as we endure disappointment. The story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42 highlights the danger of misplaced expectations.

Martha becomes distracted by her numerous tasks while Mary chooses to sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to Him. When Martha shares her frustration with Jesus, he gently corrects her in Luke 10:41-42. Like Martha, we can become so focused on our plans and expectations that we miss out on the greater blessing of simply being in Jesus’ presence.

Seek encouragement from the Bible.

The Bible has several stories of perseverance, hope, and God’s faithfulness in disappointing situations, so we can find encouragement in our disappointing situations by reading the Bible. Romans 15:4 tells us that everything written in the past was written to teach us that endurance taught in the Bible gives us hope. Psalm 40:5 also shares that the Lord has several wonders, and nothing can compare to Him. Reading about God’s fantastic work in the Bible can encourage us to find out more about the wonder of God’s work in our lives. Then, we can see that God is always at work in our lives, even when we go through disappointing times.

David, the Old Testament leader, encountered several disappointments throughout his life, but he turned to God for strength in challenging times. In Psalm 27:13-14, David proclaims that he will see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living. Like David and other biblical examples, we can find hope in our God while dealing with disappointment.

Lean on your faith community.

God created us to live in a community with each other, and our faith community can support us in powerful ways when we’re going through disappointment. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 reminds us that two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor, and when one falls, the other can pick them up. So, let’s go to our brothers and sisters in Christ for encouragement, prayer, and accountability during disappointing times.

Disappointment is a natural part of life in our world. However, we have the chance to respond to it in a way that brings us closer to God. We can handle disappointment by trusting in God’s timing and will. We can rely on Him to give us hope in disappointing times.

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