Summary: Abraham Lincoln struggled with depression all of his life, but resigned himself to the fact that without God he could not succeed, but with God He could not fail.
1. The Holy Spirit teaches us that through Biblical hope in God’s love we will conquer over all disappointments. Paul wrote, "And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." (Rom. 5:5)
Application: Ask the Lord to help you confidently go through any difficulty. Optimistically look to the ways that God’s love will work all things for your good.
Example: Jesus said, "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
Example: Paul said, "Rejoice in the Lord, always. Again I say rejoice." (Phil. 4:4)
Example: Nehemiah said, "The joy of the Lord is your strength." (Neh. 8:10)
Example: David said, "Why are you downcast oh my soul, hope in God for I will yet praise Him." (Psa 46:10)
2. The Holy Spirit preserves us from becoming disappointed in our situations through a growing trust in God and His promises. David wrote, "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Who so disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." (Psa. 42:5,11)
Application: Ask the Lord to help you grow in your capacity to believe God and His promises. Trust the Lord by praising Him in advance for His deliverance in the most difficult of circumstances. Know that He is greater than any problem, purpose or personal disappointment. Praise of God helps us find power to be greater than any problem, disappointment.
Example: Paul wrote, "He who believes in Him will not be disappointed." (Rom. 5)
3. The Holy Spirit directs us to follow in the footsteps of Godly people like Paul, the apostle, who overcame far more difficult disappointments than most of us will ever face.
Example: Paul wrote, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body." (2 Cor. 4:8-10)
Application: Ask the Lord to help you imitate Paul as he imitated Christ’s overcoming power.
4. The Holy Spirit teaches us how people like Job overcame their unexplainable disappointments. Job wrote, "My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and they come to an end without hope. Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath; my eyes will never see happiness again." (Job 7:6,7)
Eventually, God taught Job how he needed to correct his mis-beliefs. Job learned that God was sovereign and could do whatever He chose to do because our heavenly Father always knows what is best. Job concluded, "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes... After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before." (Job 42:2, 5,6,10)
Application: Ask the Lord to use your disappointments to correct any mis-beliefs you might have about God or your own perceptions about your rights to a life of comfort.
5. The Holy Spirit warns us about the disappointing consequences of poor choices made by people like Cain, Judas and Ahithophel. Samuel wrote of the disappointing consequences of Ahithophel’s sinful advice: "When Ahithophel saw that his advice has not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order and then hanged himself." (2 Sam. 17;22,23)
Application: Ask the Lord to help you learn how to fear the Lord more and keep his commandments as you read about the devastating disappointments experienced by sinful people.
6. The Holy Spirit teaches us how to not internalize our disappointments, but take them to the Lord in prayer. Paul shows us how to overcome disappointments when he writes, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Jesus Christ." (Phil. 4:6,7)
Application: Trust the Lord to help you from taking setbacks so personally. Ask the Lord to help you cast all of your disappointed feelings on the Lord. Refuse to give into despair, discouragement or any feelings of defeat. You are a conqueror through Christ Jesus.
7. The Holy Spirit assures us that we do not have to understand the reasons why disappointments come our way. Paul did not argue with the Lord about why he had to undergo such radical transformations before he could be successfully used by God. Instead, Paul wrote, "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Jesus Christ... I can do everything God asks me to do with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power. I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself." (Phil. 3:13,14,4:12,13)