I was pretty fast when I ran track in 7th grade, but to my disappointment, I could never beat this one girl from a school across town. I was jealous of her long legs. She was fast. Really fast. In the last meet of the year, I was determined to win. And I probably would have if I hadn’t decided to wipe my nose in the middle of the race.
You see, when we came out of the first curve, I was slightly ahead of her. But, my nose started to run. First, let me say, you can’t sniff when running at full speed. All I could think of was getting to the finish line with drizzle running down my face. No way, I thought. So, I reached up and tried to wipe my nose real quick. Bad idea. I broke my stride; she pulled ahead and won.
Talk about defeat and disappointment. I immediately started making excuses and looking for someone to blame. We should’ve practiced more. My coach should’ve warned me about wiping my nose during a race.
Are you like that? When something goes wrong do you look for someone to blame? Or do you look to God? God must have known what we’d do because He gave us examples throughout the Bible of people who pointed the finger at others instead of looking to Him when they faced disappointment or defeat. The Israelites are a great example. When they were discouraged or disappointed, they pointed fingers. But God used their disappointments and defeats to show Himself and reveal His plan. He’ll do the same for us.
When Moses showed up in Egypt and told the Hebrew leaders of God’s plan to free them, they broke into their happy dance and immediately started worshiping God. They’d been jammed up in Egypt for 400 years in slavery and were so ready to go. They thought Moses would have it wrapped up in no time and they’d be on the Promised Land Express enjoying their long awaited desert vacation. But, we know that’s not how the story goes. Pharaoh wasn’t eager to release his wage-free labor force and made things even harder for the Israelites before finally releasing them. They were in a hot mess. Literally.
Before Moses showed up in Egypt, the Israelites had blamed Pharaoh for their problems. But, their lives got even harder when Moses appeared on the scene talking about freedom so he became the fall guy. Why? They focused on their circumstances instead of on God. We get discouraged when we focus on circumstances instead of God.
Even Moses temporarily blamed God for his trouble. Who do you blame when your life is hard? Your husband or your children? Your employer? Your parents? Maybe you blame yourself.
When Moses was disappointed, He talked to God and God comforted him and gave him the strength. God also let Moses suffer disappointments because they drove him closer to God. He does the same for us. When we trust God instead of blaming others, we see God’s power and grow closer to Him.
Christmas can be a time of disappointments. Maybe an expectation will go unmet. Maybe time with family won’t turn out as you’d imagined. Maybe your kids who are home from college act like they’d rather be left alone instead of spend time with you. Maybe your husband is home but sits in front of the computer or TV all day.
Life is full of disappointments. A marriage. A prodigal child. A job loss. A broken friendship. A divorce. A dysfunctional family. God told the Israelites, just like He tells me and you: Instead of making excuses or looking for someone to blame in defeat or disappointment, turn to Him. He’ll use those disappointments to show Himself to us and to grow us.
What would life look like if we talked to Him when we’re disappointed instead of looking for excuses or pointing the finger at others? He promises to comfort us. I believe He’ll help us understand even more about Him through the hard times, making it possible for us to develop an even stronger relationship with Him.
How do you deal with disappointment?