Dealing with disappointment

Jul 23, 2020

Maybe, like me, you’re feeling disappointed. It’s not just that it’s been a tough year. It’s also that it doesn’t look like getting easier anytime soon. Strict social distancing restrictions are back in place. Taking much needed holidays abroad aren’t possible. Everything’s getting postponed or cancelled. Not to mention the deep uncertainty surrounding social and political unrest. These difficulties prompt the question: how do you deal with personal disappointment?

I recently read something that’s helped bring me some perspective on this question. The Bible invites you to look four places.

We love the wrong things too much, and we don’t love God enough.

First, look upward. Disappointment can make you feel lonely, that people don’t understand what you’re going through. Hebrews reminds us that Jesus can empathize with our weaknesses, that he has been tempted like we are, yet he did not sin. Therefore, we can go to him for comfort and grace (Heb 4:15-16). 

Second, look inward. Disappointments tell us a lot about our own heart. They’re an indication of our desires. The size of our disappointment can often reveal inordinate or misplaced desires. We love the wrong things too much, and we don’t love God enough. In other words, our disappointments unmask those things that we value more than God.

Third, look around. Experiencing suffering gives us the perspective and empathy to comfort others. The Apostle Paul speaks about how we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (2 Cor 1:4). Think about those around you who are struggling. How can you minister to their needs by giving them a call, meeting with them, or providing practical care? 

Fourth, look ahead. The disappointments of this world remind us that things aren’t as they should be. However, Christians are people who are shaped by hope because Jesus has conquered death. We look forward to his return and our heavenly home, where there will be no sin and brokenness, pain and hurt, tears and death. This hope gives us a joy that no disappointment can take away.  

Alex McCoy

Latest stories

Our best refuge

  Social distancing restrictions can wear you down. Compare the optimism that many of us had months ago to what you might feel like now. February: ‘Start running. Try new workouts at home’. August: ‘Walk to restaurant to get takeaway lunch. Walk home.’ February:...

read more

Vicar’s address, Annual Church Meeting 2020

  It feels strange to conduct our Annual Church Meeting like this. This is the type of occasion when we should be together, not distant, watching online. But this has been a strange and difficult year, when we’ve become accustomed to being apart and meeting online: a...

read more

The Master Class on Prayer

  When Jesus’ disciples asked him for help with prayer, he gave them the beautifully simple and wonderfully comprehensive words known to us as ‘The Lord’s Prayer’. Amongst everything that has been taught in human history, there is good reason to consider this prayer...

read more