|Volume 23 Number 8 August 2021
Brian R. Kenyon
Life is filled with disappointment. Job said, “Man who is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). Disappointment comes in all shapes and sizes. Some we bring on ourselves; some is brought upon us by others; and some just results from events over which we have no control. How can we handle disappointments in life? John 14-16 contains the answer. In this section of Scripture, Jesus prepared the apostles for His departure. He had been with them for about three years. He had been their constant companion, but He was going to depart soon. The apostles were about to lose their best Friend, the one on Whom they had relied for so long. Imagine their disappointment! Although our disappointments may not involve the earthly loss of our best friends, they can come close to what the apostles were experiencing. The way Jesus prepared them for this potentially overwhelming disappointment can also give us strength to overcome our disappointments.
Have Faith in God
Faith in God will help us through disappointing times. Jesus began this section, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me” (John 14:1). Imagine if we were in the place of the apostles. Do we remember times in our lives when we lost someone on whom we depended so much, whether a best friend, a family member or even a spouse? Perhaps we remember when were children that our best friend moved away. Or, maybe church members whom we had grown to love and appreciate had to leave the congregation for whatever reason. This is how disappointed the apostles were about to feel. Their best Fiend was about to leave. Their security would soon be taken away. What could they do? What can we do? Jesus said, “Believe in God”! Biblical belief is not a blind leap in the dark. It is based on knowledge (Romans 10:17). Yes, that is right; faith is knowing! The Bible defines faith: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). The evidence for God’s existence is all around us (Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:19-20). We can also know that the Bible is His inspired Word. We must, therefore, do what it teaches and trust its promises, because “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). When tempted to be overcome with disappointment, we must look beyond the moment and trust that God will help us.
Know This World Is Not Our Home
Jesus promised the apostles, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3). There is more to life for the faithful Christian than this world. One reason Jesus went back to the Father was to make ready our eternal abode with God. “Mansions [dwelling places, NAS; rooms, ESV]” is from a Greek word (mone) that means “dwelling place, abode, room” (same word in John 14:23). Imagine living in the same abode as the Father and the Son! That is exactly what awaits all the faithful children of God. There is no disappointment in this life that can take that away! Paul said that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). Most, if not all, of our disappointments arise because of what we perceive as losing in this world. The apostles, for example, had difficulty seeing beyond their present time when faced with the reality of Jesus’ departure (John 14:5, 8, 22). Sometimes we also have a hard time looking beyond the here and now. It will help us to overcome disappointment when we realize that we do not belong to this world, and the things we lose in this world will be more than compensated in eternity (Mark 10:28-30)!
Continue Working in the Lord
Jesus’ preparation of the apostles for His departure involved a reminder of their work in relation to Him.
I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser… Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit… If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. (John 15:1-6)
In the face of their coming disappointment, the apostles needed to remember they had work to do! If it was possible for an apostle, if he did not continue bearing the characteristics of “the true vine,” to be cut off and cast into the fire, then it is certainly possible for that to happen to us. No matter what our disappointments in this life may be, we must always remember the work the Lord has for us (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 2:7, 14; 3:8). We must abide and work in Him, remembering that “your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Be at Peace
Jesus closed the section of Scripture in which He prepared the apostles for His departure by offering them His peace. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Disappointments are a part of this life. However, we do not have to allow them to keep us in a constant state of anxiety (Matthew 6:25-33). We must trust that God, as He has promised, will work “all things… together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
We serve an awesome God! Whether we are disappointed in ourselves, in others or in circumstances beyond our control, there is hope! Whatever brings disappointment to our lives, God is able to make good come out of it. We have the assurance, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you… Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
Consideration Goes a Long Way
Sometimes couples wonder, “What went wrong in our relationship?” Perhaps the love birds in the Song of Solomon can offer a few tips. Just in chapter one we see how considerate they were of one another. Note these loving acts of consideration: