No matter how many times we encounter disappointment in our lives, it never becomes easier to cope with. Whether we’re further along our walks of life or not, disappointment hits us like an oncoming train. Disappointment, sadness, and grief are all topics we avoid like the plague. The less we talk about feelings and situations such as these, the harder they become to deal with. So how do we carry on when the storms come and disrupt our plans?
I recently encountered disappointment in a rather significant way in my life. I moved from the States to the UK to do a leadership training program with a church here in England, called Form. Although Form itself is certainly intense and demanding, I’ve loved being able to look back and see just how much I’ve grown and matured through it. Because of Form, I’ve spent a majority of my time doing various things I’ve committed to at the beginning of the year. One of the key commitments that’s part of Form is going on a mission trip with the whole team. Our mission trip this year was to Sicily and I was unable to join my team.
Through an unlikely chain of events, I ended up losing my wallet about a month or so before we were to leave for Sicily. My wallet contained some important documents that I couldn’t leave the country without, (Oh the joys of being American!) I couldn’t get them replaced in time so I had to tell the team I couldn’t join them only two days before they left. I was utterly shattered. The mission trip was something I had been really looking forward to since day one of Form.
I was faced with a choice: having a week to myself, I could either stay in bed and feel sorry for myself, or choose to fully engage with all that God had in store for me that week. Although the situation was absolutely rubbish, I managed to fill up each day with plans. I was confused, upset and angry, but somehow I was also completely peaceful every day. I didn’t want to talk to God in the slightest – but I could feel Him with me constantly. In the midst of the week I couldn’t see anything good about the situation. It wasn’t until now, two weeks later, that I was able to look back and see a little bit of what God was doing then.
I was given the opportunity to engage fully with all the uncomfortable feelings that come when things don’t go according to plan. Because things didn’t play out as I had wanted, I found myself doubting God’s goodness throughout the week. I felt like He had somehow been unfaithful to me and had let me down because He had not provided a way for me to go on the mission trip. God doesn’t promise us that everything in our lives will be exactly as we want, but He does promise to be with us during every step as our lives unfold. I doubted His faithfulness during that week, but looking back now, I see how incredibly faithful He was to me. He not only stayed with me, but He gave me peace when all I wanted was to distance myself from Him.
God taught me how to keep moving when I simply don’t understand. There will be times in my life when worse disappointment and despair come to put my faith to the test and, actually, I’m really thankful that I can trust Him no matter what emotional state I’m in. I no longer blame Him for every trial that has come to pass. Sometimes life happens and all we can do is keep moving. God didn’t let me down; it’s just not in His character.
– BrandyLee Desjardins