How often do you struggle with disappointment? And when you do, do you become angry, sad or depressed? To be honest, we all struggle with this emotion. Yesterday, I told you about the fiber installation at our home. All that was needed was for the installation team to return today to do the final connection and replace the grass and brick work. They were to arrive just after 8am this morning. This was by arrangement, as I needed to be at the pharmacy to collect some medication at 10am. They did not arrive. At 9.10am I called and they said I should do what I needed to do and they would be at the house at 10.45am. Well, they only arrived at 11.30am. The replacing the grass and the brick work was under par, even after I pointed things out to them a few times.
By 1.30pm, I was told I could call the service provider because everything was ready to go live in my house. I was on the line for an hour and forty-three minutes. The person assisting me tried hard to get the connection going, but all his efforts were unsuccessful. He then said the people who own the fiber needed to be contacted because some connection on their side needed to be reset. He would call me back before 5pm. At 5.24pm, I received a SMS from the service provider saying they would give me a return call as I requested (I did not, the operator said he would call me) between 5.24pm and 5.54pm. As I write this note, it is 7.30pm and no call has come through.
Am I disappointed? The answer is yes. Am I angry? I needed to talk to the Lord about this matter. What is the reason for being disappointed? Over a weekend, I use the most data compared to week days. I upload a service / sermon that takes at least 6 gigs and we Zoom Chicago on Saturdays and Nebraska on Sundays. My “pay as you go” Telkom data is almost exhausted and with no fibre I will need to purchase Telkom data that I hoped not to do because when I get the fibre, whatever Telkom data is left will be wasted. That is the reason for being disappointed. However … it was another reminder that in everything, I need to trust God’s timing. He does say (through the inspired writing of Romans):
Ro 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
We have looked at this verse often, and at times it is hard to accept, but part of faith is knowing that God always does what is best for us. He protects us even when we can’t understand what’s happening. So how does one respond to disappointment, anxiety and stress?
Firstly, we need to be people of faith, trusting that God in His goodness always does or permits things that are for our good. That includes what appears to be for our loss or perhaps that which causes us heartache or hardship. The Christian faith requires trusting God in every situation. Trust brings us back to the topic of prayer. Prayer is depending on God. He knows and sees the bigger picture. He sees and knows the tomorrows and all the years until we die. Because He is omniscient, we need to depend upon His greater wisdom in our every situation, especially when we’re disappointed or become emotionally distraught.
Secondly, we need to practice the grace of prayer more passionately.
Phil 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Disappointment could lead to anxiety, which could cripple one’s faith! Anxiety and stress are bedfellows and are dangerous enemies for us. A particular radio station is said to market classical music as a “stress breaker.” Doctors give people a sick note to remain at home because of stress. Paul writes to the Philippian church from a prison cell. If anyone should be anxious or stressed or disappointed, it would be Paul … yet he writes, saying, “Do not be anxious about anything”. Further, he does not leave it there … why does he not leave it there? Because in his condition as a prisoner he knew how to overcome the triplets … anxiety, stress and disappointment! He says, “but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”. The answer is prayer! How we try just about everything in the book (or not in the book) before we even consider prayer! Prayer ought to be on out lips throughout the day every day. Prayer shows God we depend upon Him. Irrespective how educated we are, irrespective of how mature we are, irrespective of how clever we are, irrespective of how much money we have, irrespective of how strong we might be … God is infinitely better than we will ever be! He always knows best. What we need to do best is pray!
Thirdly, why do we pray? We pray because the peace God enjoys will be imparted to us. This is how it works … in our disappointment, anxiety or stress, we reach out into the heavenly place, the place of peace, seeking God to refresh us and help us at our point of need … in this case, an emotional need. He enjoys total and absolute peace … and as we talk to Him, pouring out our hearts, being vulnerable and truthful and expressing our need, His peace, in some divine way (which transcends all understanding–likely by the Holy Spirit who is the Father’s agent bringing help), descends upon us. Then we participate in His peace, and our hearts and minds are then guarded … protected from anxiety, stress and disappointment. When you have an argument or fight with someone and talk things through making peace, you feel elated and relieved. When God gives you of His peace as you spend time in His presence, your heart and mind relaxes as His presence comes upon you. That is why we pray!
Dear God, thank You that You are our refuge and our strength. Help us to depend upon You all the time. Amen.