The Joy of Christian Disappointment

I wrote this Friday afternoon, but I didn’t want to double post in a single day, so it is coming this morning.

Since our move from southern California to northern Delaware, my life has been full of disappointments. Both small and large, these developments have been one of the few constants of our journey here in the east. Some slide off my back with little thought thereafter, others have kept me awake at night, still more have proven to be the breeding for resentment for which I have had to repent.

In spite of these down’s I’ve experienced–and their have been many more than I anticipated–another constant has emerged. While not as dramatic as rejection, frustration, and angst, this constant is worth discussing, if for no other reason than I feel it beneficial for me to acknowledge and for you to read.

The other constant I am referencing is joy. A certain, untainted joy in the face of uncertainty and hurt. This a strong joy, one that comes from knowing my wife and I are where the Lord has placed us for this season of life. Yes, it is hard. Yes, it is disappointing. But, no, it is not hopeless–I would say it’s not even discouraging, not for any extended period of time, anyway. Those moments pass, so quickly, and the peace returns with as much strength as it had prior to whatever bad news was received. And hope wells again quickly with a renewed strength so potent, you’d have thought that no such disappointment had come.

That’s the joy. The real joy. It is not fleeting but endearing, not stifled but stalwart–everlasting joy in eternal promises.  To even write of it fills me with pleasure and satisfaction, and be assured the latest disappointment to befall us is raw. That wound is upon, but the medicine is at work. Cleaning it, mending it, making it whole.

I preach a big game on this blog from time to time. I encourage honesty, and I demand it of myself. . I have said that the Lord is good and at work, in the forefront and in shadow, blessing, renewing, preparing, refining. When I consider this, I cannot help but ask the psalmist’s question once again, “What is man, O God in Heaven, what is man that You are mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:4) But he is. He is. And that is a most encouraging thought.

Some weeks he whispers to us. Some weeks he shouts. This week, I had wonderful experiences of prayer and Scriptural memorization and reflection with the Lord. We spent time together. But the realities of life also hit hard in these days. Life came at me with an uppercut right at the opening, popped a few jabs over the next days, and finished the week with a left hook–BAM–right in the temple. But all those minutes with Christ beforehand, all those mornings in Scripture, they brought me back to my feet. And they softened the blow. Events that could have shattered my spirits came, and they passed; and I stood with my gloves raised, black-eye and all, saying, “Alright. I got another round”.

And having that ability, that hope in the promise of the Lord’s work in the present and his promises in the future, that is something about which to rejoice.

Thanks for reading,