Dictionaries describe disappointment as being “depressed or discouraged by the failure of one’s hopes or expectations.” This happens to everyone at one time or another…no one is exempt.
I’ve met people who are disappointed in their marriage, feeling that their spouse just isn’t living up to their expectations. Some people feel frustrated by the decisions their children or grandchildren are making. And many others are disappointed by their career path or financial hopes.
Most sadly of all, I sometimes meet Christians who have become disillusioned about the Christian life. They assumed their decision to follow Jesus would make all of their problems go away – but instead they encountered a completely new set of challenges. As a result, sometimes people end up mad at God because He doesn’t seem to be doing things like they think He should.
If you are experiencing any of these feelings today, I have good news… In every one of life’s disappointments, God has planned an appointment for your turnaround! The Bible is filled with countless examples of this vital principle, but let me just share a few.
A Healing… or a Resurrection?
I love the account in John 11 of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. But to be honest, the story didn’t begin on a very positive note.
After hearing that His friend Lazarus was sick, what did Jesus do? Nothing at first. In fact, He waited a few extra days before coming on the scene!
When Jesus finally arrived, He was blamed for His friend’s death. Martha, Lazarus’ sister, said in anger and bewilderment, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21).
Understandably, Martha and her sister Mary were terribly disappointed by Jesus’ failure to come quickly and heal their brother. Wouldn’t you be?
Yet remember how the story ended. Instead of giving the sisters what they wanted – a healing for their brother – Jesus gave them a much greater miracle: their brother’s resurrection!
Friend, the next time God seems to delay in answering your prayers, keep this story in mind. Amid your disappointment, the Lord may be setting up an appointment to do something far better than you can dream or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
A Few Fish… or a Miracle Catch?
One day Jesus gave advice to Simon Peter, a professional fisherman, on how to fish: “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch” (Luke 5:4).
The timing was perfect, for Peter was feeling quite disappointed at that moment: “Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing” (v. 5)! If you put yourself in Peter’s shoes, you would be disappointed too. He had worked hard…stayed up all night…used all of his expertise… but caught absolutely NOTHING.
Despite this disappointment, Peter fortunately was willing to heed Jesus’ instructions: “Nevertheless, at Your word I will let down the net” (v. 5).
Notice that one word from Jesus can change everything! When Peter obeyed the Lord’s instruction, the resulting turnaround was swift and stunning:
“When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking” (v. 6).
What a beautiful illustration of God’s plan to schedule an appointment for our breakthrough during our times of disappointment. If Peter and the other fishermen had caught even a mediocre catch of fish through their own efforts that day, perhaps they would have been satisfied. But Jesus wanted to give them much MORE than that!
The lesson for us today is clear:
During times of disappointment, we must draw near to God and request His instructions for our turnaround.
When the Brook Dries Up
The final story is found in 1 Kings 17. Elijah had followed God’s instructions to live by the Brook Cherith, where he could drink from the stream and be fed by ravens.
Elijah obeyed, and everything went as planned – for three years, at least. But then the situation changed: “It happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land” (v. 7).
Friend, perhaps you’ve faced a time like this in your own life. You’ve tried to be faithful in following the Lord’s instructions, but one day, unexpectedly, “the brook dried up.” Perhaps you faced the loss of a job, the end of a relationship, or some other setback. But in your disappointment, remember…
Every setback is just a setup for a comeback!
The brook drying up certainly wasn’t the end of Elijah’s story – far from it. This disappointment led to wonderful new appointments in his ministry:
Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you” (vs. 8-9).
You see, when the brook of God’s provision dries up, that doesn’t mean He’s being unfaithful to His Word. Instead, the Lord is providing you with a marvelous opportunity to draw closer to Him and receive your new assignment.
After the Brook Cherith dried up, can you imagine how foolish it would have been for Elijah to continue sitting there, demanding that God send more water? The Lord had a different plan – a much better plan – moving Elijah onward in the next step toward His ultimate calling.
What You Can Do
If you’re dealing with disappointment in some area of your life today, God wants you to know that a turnaround might be right around the corner. He’s offering you an appointment in His presence to hear new instructions on how to begin your fresh start.
Your friends at Inspiration Ministries are here for you in times of discouragement and testing. I encourage you to send us your prayer requests, or contact our faithful prayer ministers directly to agree with you in prayer.
I’m convinced that an exciting appointment awaits as you trust and obey the Lord!
God bless you,
David Cerullo is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Inspiration Ministries, located in Indian Land, South Carolina – a ministry dedicated to impacting people for Christ worldwide through media. The son of international evangelist Morris Cerullo, David took a less traditional approach to ministry, graduating from Oral Roberts University with a degree in business administration and management. He has authored over 20 books, and operates a global media ministry that powerfully impacts the world for Christ. More from David on Inspiration.org.