Consider the alternative
When we feel disappointment sometimes we give ourselves permission to be angry for a while. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging how someone has hurt us. In fact, it is healthy to be honest about our feelings. However, there are enough scriptures that warn us about holding onto our hurt to make us think twice about what we are doing with it. We are told that we should, “be angry, and yet do not sin; and do not let the sun go down on your anger.” (Ephesians 4:26) We are warned that no “root of bitterness” should be allowed to spring up in us because that bitterness will be an excuse for sin. (Hebrews 12:15)
In fact, Ephesians 4 :31 & 32 tells us that we should, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Holding onto anger, wrath, and bitterness are all the opposite of walking in faith. They deny the power of grace to change. They declare that fire should be fought with fire. Our hurt tells us that insult should be answered with insult and hurt with hurt. Bitterness tells us that disappointment can never heal and God cannot turn our mourning into dancing. We must see the person we become if we do not walk in faith in the area of disappointment. We become bitter, angry, on edge, and willing to lash out when faced with a similar situation again. Oh, we might still be kind to small children and puppies, but what about everyone else?
Earlier, we saw the second half of John 10:10. Do you remember the first half? It says, “The thief has come only to steal, kill, and destroy.” Isn’t that what holding onto disappointment does to us? It takes away our ability to live in faith through our disappointment. It kills our joy. It destroys today’s miracle happening in our relationships. Is that where we want to be? I don’t think so. We want life. We want joy. We want the abundant life that Jesus has promised us. We don’t want to miss the power of faith in our life. The problem is not what we want. The struggle is giving grace to those who have disappointed us. That is where we walk by faith and not by sight. However, isn’t it worth it? The alternative certainly is not!
Make the choice to start over… it is walking by faith
So, before we can see and rejoice in what God can do through our struggles, we must answer the question: will I live by faith in the midst of my disappointment? Or, to put it in everyday language: will I start over with those who have disappointed me? That is quite the faith walk, isn’t it? As a good friend tells me, now I’ve gone from preaching to meddling! Yet, right next to real forgiveness, starting over is both the most profound human expression of God’s grace and the riskiest stepping out in faith that most of us ever do. Starting over with that person who has hurt and disappointed us declares that we believe in the grace we have trusted. Starting over says that we believe that God is redeeming us, and He is redeeming us not just for Heaven but also for today. We believe that God truly can give back what the locusts have eaten.
It’s not a feeling. It’s not a warm fuzzy. The other person may not be ready. However, God says that forgiveness and starting over will transform our life. He doesn’t just say that it will make us feel better. If that always happened it wouldn’t be faith, now would it? No, God is not asking his followers to embrace a warm fuzzy. He is certainly not asking us to do the easy or comfortable. No, God is asking us to believe and act on the impossible.
We all have days where we are just fed up with the disappointments of life. However, if we don’t start over more and more of our days become like that. Disappointment becomes a wound that life is always bumping into. Starting over is one of God’s healing balms for those wounds. The first measure of that healing comes as we can see our struggles and disappointments in a completely new light. Peter says that we can, “greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6-7) Imagine that. You and I can have such a perspective on our life that our disappointments don’t dim our rejoicing. Those disappointments are put in perspective. They aren’t the end of the world. They aren’t pointless. God is redeeming us. God is redeeming even those disappointments. How can you see it? Trust God’s promises and start over today.