Summary: Discover how Jesus can help you deal with disappointment.
Have you ever been disappointed? There are probably some who came to worship today struggling with disappointment. Disappointment takes many forms.
• Sometimes we get disappointed by people (marriage partner, work associate, friend).
• Sometimes we get disappointed when our plans do not materialize (marriage, school, promotion).
• Sometimes we get disappointed with the twists of life (death, sickness, broken dreams).
Joke: Disappointment is one of those emotions we would rather avoid. A small-town prosecuting attorney called his first witness to the stand in a trial -- a grand-motherly, elderly woman.
He approached her and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know me?"
She responded, "Why, yes, I do know you, Mr. Williams. I’ve known you since you were a young boy. And frankly, you’ve been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you’re a rising big shot when you haven’t the brains to realize you will never amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you."
The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?"
She replied, "Why, yes I do. I’ve known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. I used to baby-sit him for his parents. And he, too, has been a real disappointment to me. He’s lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. The man can’t build a normal
relationship with anyone, and his law practice is one of the shoddiest in the entire state. Yes, I know him."
At this point, the judge rapped the courtroom to silence and called both counselors to the bench.
In a very quiet voice, he whispered, "If either of you asks her if she knows me, you’ll be jailed for contempt!" (Contributed to Sermon Central by Dru Ashwell)
Disappointment is one of those emotions we had rather avoid. As we face disappointments we need to be reminded that even God does not shield his children from disappointment.
• Joseph had a God given dream but had to wade through disappointment in order to realize it. He was rejected by his brothers. He was the object of lies at the hands of his boss’s wife.
• Job experienced the loss of everything he owned. He lost his family and his friends.
• Jeremiah was called of God to be a prophet to Israel. However, he was rejected and his message was rejected by the people of God.
• Paul was called to be an apostle of God but he was persecuted by the very people who needed to hear his message.
I want to use a text from Luke 24 to consider this subject. This is the context. Two of Jesus followers were on their way to a place named Emmaus. Apparently Emmaus was their home town. They had been to Jerusalem and were aware of the news of Jesus death. As they walked along they were discussing the events that had happened in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus death. As they talked Jesus appears and begins to question them. As they speak Jesus picks up on their disappointment. In verse 21 we find the words reflecting their disappointment. The two followers tell Jesus “And we had our hopes up that he was the One” (the Message).
Have we not heard that phrase before?
• I had hopes our marriage would work!
• I had hopes my loved one would get better!
• I had hopes my job would work out!
• I had hopes we would win the ballgame!
Disappointment can make or break us, depending on how we cope with it. History has abundant illustrations of people who have struggled with disappointment and yet came out on top.
Illustration: Some years ago someone sent me an e-mail entitled “Shake it off and step up.” It perfectly illustrates the concept of dealing with disappointment. A parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s well. The farmer heard the mule ‘braying’. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together and told them what had happened…and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.
Initially, the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back…a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back…HE SHOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP This he did, blow after blow.