How to Handle Disappointment Gen. 40:23 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
So often we face things that disappoint us and we must know how to handle disappointment. We are going to study a few Bible characters to see how they handled disappointment and they should help us to see how we should handle disappointment. When you face disappointment:
Keep doing good – Gen 40:14-15, 23 – Joseph had been sold into slavery because of his brothers’ envy. He had served Potiphar faithfully and yet he was falsely accused of soliciting his wife. When he was imprisoned, he continued to serve faithfully despite this. He had been there for over 10 years when he interpreted the dreams for the butler and the baker. He asked the butler to remember him when he was restored to his butlership. But the chief butler forgot. And so, Joseph spent two more years in prison. What disappointment! He handled it by doing the same good things he had been doing before. You should handle disappointment the same way. Just keep doing good.
Know there’s something better – Gen 41:9-14 – if Joseph had been released 2 years earlier when he wanted out, he would have returned to slave status. But because of the delay, he was promoted to the second ruler of the country. The Pharaoh that promoted him was different than the one who had been there two years earlier [Gen 41:10-13]. By this promotion, Joseph certainly enjoyed a great personal benefit. But he also saved his family from the famine. None of this would have been possible if he had gotten his way earlier. When you face disappointment, remember that this gives God opportunity to provide you with a better outcome.
Say, “It is well” – 2 Ki 4:18-26 – the great woman of Shunem who took care of Elisha was blessed with a son when she had given up all hope of ever conceiving. And then when the child was grown, he died. The woman was crushed. And yet, instead of crying out in despair and complaining, she said simply, “It is well.” She maintained an attitude through her sad disappointment that prevented her from fretting against God. When you face disappointment, remember to keep trusting God and say, “It is well.” Because it is.
Draw close to God’s man – 2 Ki 4:30 – when Gehazi went to try to raise the child, the woman said to Elisha, “I will not leave thee.” She didn’t run from the prophet. Likewise, when you face disappointment, don’t run from the preaching of God’s word. Stay in church. Stay with God’s people. I have met many people who have gotten bitter and cold toward God. When that happens, you are defeated until you die. By staying close to Elisha, she received her son alive. You understand that when a child dies, he is safe until he is accountable for his sin. You will see him in heaven; he will be raised to live eternally. If he has become accountable and he gets saved, you will see him again when we are raised at the rapture [1 Thes 4:16-18].
Encourage yourself in the Lord – 1 Sam 30:6 – David and his men were horribly discouraged when they returned to Ziklag to find their city burned, their possessions stolen and their families taken captive. All the men who had been so loyal to David were so distraught that they spoke of stoning David. Instead of despairing, David encouraged himself in the Lord. You should do the same thing when you are discouraged. Get with God and get into your Bible. Pray and seek the Lord. He will encourage you and lift your spirit so that you can go on. David and his men recovered everything and everyone who had been taken. And they didn’t need Ziklag anymore. They were heading to Hebron where David was made king.
Don’t go off in a rage – 2 Ki 5:10-12 – Naaman, the leper, was offended when Elisha’s servant told him to go dip in the Jordan River. He was disappointed because this instruction was not what he expected. Unfulfilled expectations will disappoint you. But don’t go off in a rage like Naaman did. His anger did nothing to improve his circumstance and neither will yours. You can fuss and fight all you want but it will not change your predicament. You’re wasting your time and energy and you are upsetting a lot of your friends.
Remain obedient and humble – 2 Ki 5:14 – why don’t you just do what God told you to do. That’s what Naaman did and his problem resolved. Stop whining and listen for God’s instructions. They are in the Bible. Obey what God said and remain humble so that he can deal with the situation with which you need him to help you. But be sure of this. He isn’t going to do it your way. He is going to do it his way and in his time. So, remain obedient and humble.
Conclusion: as hard as it may be to do these things, this is how you handle disappointment.