Monday, June 27, 2011

When Disappointments Come...

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21

"I have to check the calendar." How common a phrase is this? Oh how blessed we are that our calendars overflow with the fruit of family and friendships, activities and events. We make our plans, carefully gliding our Sharpie markers over the white space of our lives, marking the important dates and the times we are to be somewhere special. We build expectations of the revelrie we will share and expectations of how we will handle our own special events. It is those expectations that have the potential to rob us of our joy.

Think back to some of your most critical expectations, perhaps a special friendship, a marriage, a birthday party, your prayer life. In every facet of our lives, we design our expectations and though sometimes, they turn out exactly the way we planned, sometimes God has something different planned. Since I only have one day a week with a significant time frame to clean and prepare, I carefully map out that day with a firm agenda in mind. On one such day, the phone rang, smack in the middle of conquering mount laundry and scrubbing the whitest bathroom in our home. I had a choice to keep to my "firm" agenda or to answer the call that could potentially throw me way off track. Fortunately, the phone call,a wonderful diversion and blessed time of fellowship did not throw me off track, quite the opposite, it energized me and propelled me forward. This was not my expectation, and I was pleasantly surprised. I could have viewed the interruption as a disappointment, instead it was a blessing.

Disappointments happen; not just interruptions or changes in plans...true disappointments. A loved one dies suddenly, a marriage falls apart, children get sick, vacations get cancelled, financial burdens threaten to destroy...real life losses. So, as we seek God's purpose and put aside our own expectations, how do we keep our joy amidst the disappointments? We look to the cross where a curse becomes a blessing. The grace of God abounds even in the difficult times or "disappointing" times. When our eyes are closely fixed on the character of God and His deep desire to provide for us in all circumstances, it lessens the chances of our hearts being bitter or remaining disappointed when our prayers are not answered our way or when our expectations are not met.

Recently, our nine year old daughter became ill just in time for her school's Field Day. She had looked forward to it for weeks and was disappointed that her fever would render her unable to attend. I was surprised at her ability to healthily cope with her sadness. She said she had wanted to play games and be with her friends, but that God had a better plan for her to spend a quiet day alone with her grandmother playing like they did when she was little. She was able to find God's goodness and grace in this situation. When the day was over she rejoiced in all the happy moments. I learned an important lesson from my daughter that day. I spent the day at school lamenting and missing her, I had a certain amount of bitterness welling up within. God quieted me and my disappointment with the joy of a child and her grandmother. Sometimes, it is our job to surrrender our expectations, making room for God's perfect plan, even when it does not match ours.

"See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many." Hebrews 12:15


1 comment:

Connie Arnold said...

That's sweet! A good lesson learned from your daughter. Life is filled with disappointments but we can always find God's love, goodness and grace to help us through those times.