Sermons

Summary: Looks at dealing with the disappointments in our lives.

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Have you ever been disappointed? Really disappointed? Maybe you watched as your dreams crashed and burnt, or perhaps someone you loved and trusted let you down. My cousin’s 17 year old daughter has been planning her audition for Canadian Idol since it was first announced. She has an incredible voice; she got in line Monday night and waited with our Daughter in the rain, and then didn’t make the first cut. Why we don’t know, all we know is that she didn’t get the yellow slip needed to move on to the next level. She was devastated.

I’m sure that at this point in history the people of Israel were feeling a little disappointed. They had come out of Egypt, crossed the Red Sea, followed the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, were fed with manna and quail, they watched as Moses made water come out of the rock and not they weren’t going to be allowed to enter the Promised Land.

Now you know and I know that it was their own fault. It was their murmuring and complaining that kept them from seeing what could have been theirs. But if there is no sympathy for the group as a whole think about how Joshua and Caleb must have been feeling at this point. Remember the story from Numbers 14:7-8 They said to the community of Israel, “The land we explored is a wonderful land! And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey, and he will give it to us! These two guys were so excited about what the future held in store for them and the nation of Israel. They had seen the Promised Land, walked across it lush plains and tasted it’s fruit.

When Angela and I were first married, late in the last century, we owned a couple of kittens. And one day the male, Mick, discovered a balloon on the floor of our living room and he started playing with it. He would bat it and then chase it across the carpet, he was having a ball. Now I knew what was going to happen, but having a slight nasty streak decided to let things progress on their own. Well eventually Mick cornered the illusive beast and pounced with every one of those needle sharp kitten claws extended. And with a bang his prey disappeared. The bang set him back a bit but the look of disappointment on his face when his plaything disappeared was so sad.

Joshua and Caleb had had their balloon burst, they were disappointed as they watched their dreams feel apart. You’ve been there you know what I’m talking about. At some time or another in your life you have had dreams come crashing down. Perhaps it was a job or promotion that didn’t materialize like you thought it would, or a dream that you’ve never seen fulfilled. Maybe it was just a delay or maybe it was a complete stop.

I am convinced the more vivid the vision the greater the disappointment should the vision fail to materialize. Author Eric Hoffer said “Disappointment is a sort of bankruptcy -- the bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much in hope and expectation.” bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much in hope and expectation if you’ve felt it you know how apt that description is. I’m sure that there were others in Israel who were disappointed as well but because they hadn’t been so passionate about the dream the disappointment wasn’t as crushing.

We’ve all had disappointments, in our education, our careers, our marriages and our spiritual lives. But how we deal with our disappointments will determine whether they destroy us or make us stronger.

1) Disappointments Are Only Delays. Who says that every setback has to be final? Even though Joshua and Caleb could not enter the promised land right away they did eventually get there. And it was just as beautiful as they had remembered it.

Even though you may not be able to enjoy the taste of victory today doesn’t mean you won’t tomorrow. You may have to reshuffle your plans, you may have to rearrange your priorities, but disappointments don’t have to be final. The anticipation can be as much fun as the arrival. That delay may give you the extra time you need for more planning.

2) Disappointments are Educational Many times we can actually learn from our setbacks. I never make a mistake that I don’t try and learn something from it. And I am convinced that we never learn nearly as much from our successes as we do from our failures. Now I know that it’s a lot more fun to learn from out success, but we don’t learn as much.

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