Update from our Pastors Andy and Andrea Freeman:
This week we are supposed to be in Tanzania – not for a safari, not to sample the beauty of Mount Kilimanjaro or even to enjoy the lovely beaches of Zanzibar, but to visit some good friends in Mbeya, a crowded, noisy and bustling interior city of over a million people. We were in the same situation after 9/11 for different reasons – flights cancelled, Government advice not to travel to East Africa because of fear of Al-Qaeda networks in operation. And the same feeling of disappointment.
The way we deal with disappointment is fundamental in determining what our lives our like. All of us have to deal with disappointment at some point or other. Maybe disappointment about the way life has turned out – as youngsters we had dreams that seem to have died a death, relationships that haven’t worked, careers that fell flat on their faces…….and so I could go on. And for some people during the Covid-19 pandemic there has been a lot of disappointment around – abandoned holidays, job losses, financial problems, loss of health, and in some instances, loss of friends and loved ones.
Many things happen in life which we can’t control. However, in all these situations there is one thing we do have control over. Our response. And our response to disappointment often determines so much about our lives. When we respond in anger and bitterness this can negatively impact our lives for a long time because we start seeing everything through the cloud of anger, bitterness, suspicion and cynicism. Cynical people are rarely happy people.
In Jesus we can approach disappointment from a way that grows and matures us, and that leads ultimately to a better life.
1. Look at disappointment within the context of eternity. 2 Corinthians 4:17 says “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all”. When we belong to Jesus we have a hope for eternity which is amazing and outweighs all the problems of this life!
2. We can turn to God in our disappointments, knowing that we don’t have the bigger picture, but that he does! Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” And Proverbs 3:5-8 goes on to say that we can trust him to make our lives right. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” There are many disappointments I can now look back on in my life and say that I am so grateful to the Lord that I went through them because his plans were much better for me than my own!
3. Even when others have let us down and tried to destroyed us, hard as it is to work through it sometimes, we can say with Joseph, who was betrayed in a most terrible way by his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good….” Genesis 50:20.
Disappointment in life takes many forms, but when we know Jesus as our Lord and Saviour we can have a peace that comes from knowing that we are:
1. Loved and known by God
2. In a relationship with the creator of the universe who has a design and a purpose for our lives
And because of this we can leave our disappointments with him and allow him to form our lives into something beautiful and special.