Disappointment – “the feeling of sadness or displeasure caused by the non-fulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.”
“Why has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:13). Gideon spoke these words from a distressed and disconnected heart. He was being invited to come out of disappointment, to believe for the future, to believe he was significant, and to save a nation.
There are two ways to live. We can live a hopeless life and never be disappointed, or we can live a hope-filled life and experience some disappointment. The first option protects us from some pain, but it actually blocks us from truly living in the fullness which hope offers.
Hope is the belief that the future will better than the present, and I have the power to help make it so. Hope is the confident, joy-filled expectancy that good is coming. Hope is an overall optimistic attitude about the future based on the goodness and promises of God. Yes, it is risky to be a person of hope, but without hope, things begin to die in us and around us. “Without a vision (hope), the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).
“Take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). It is called a sword because we are supposed to kill something with it (not people, but the mindsets in us that stand opposed to God’s promises).
Victorious people recognize disappointment is one of the main enemies to be defeated in life. Everyone has to deal with some level of being disappointed in five different areas. If you are facing one or more of these right now, you are not alone.
- Disappointed With God – The Psalms are filled with examples of sadness and displeasure concerning what God was seemingly doing or not doing. Bill Johnson, Senior Leader at Bethel Church, says to read the Psalms until you find your voice (or your situation). The Psalms are a strong remedy for being disappointed in God.
- Disappointed With Yourself – Who hasn’t been angry with themselves about things they did or should have done? The devil is called the Accuser of the Brethren. One of his main tactics to disempower us is to cause us to focus on our weaknesses and faults more than on the strengths we have in Christ. When we are told to “resist the devil” (James 4:7), we are being told, amongst other things, to resist partnering with chronic disappointment with ourselves.
- Disappointed With Leadership Over You – Whether it is a governmental leader, church leader, parent, a boss, or some other authority figure, each of us has been hurt in some way by someone over us. Being regularly disappointed and frustrated with our leaders is an attitude we cannot keep if we are going to fulfill our destiny. When you are tempted to criticize a leader, immediately start praying for them. It will accelerate positive solutions and overcome your own negative responses.
- Disappointed With People You Are Leading – I remember early on in pastoring how I would be frustrated with the people I was leading. I would lower my beliefs about them in proportion to my disappointment in them. The Lord then said, “Steve, do you know what your people’s biggest problem is? It is you! They are trying to rise above the negative beliefs you have about them and are having difficulty doing so.” I began to recognize overcoming disappointment in people was a quality of great leadership.
- Disappointed With Life in General – In Isaiah 61:1, it says, “The anointing heals the broken-hearted.” Every person experiences disappointment that can lead to brokenness in our heart. Obviously, some have much greater negative circumstances than others, but God promises to heal us. A major key is to allow God’s love and power to heal our disappointments so that we do not get a root of bitterness that begins to poison us and the environments we are a part of.
Gideon overcame disappointment, and so will we. God did not just fix the pain in his heart, but He gave Him an identity and purpose which caused him to get whole again. If you would like more on this topic, please listen to my podcast here.
ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.