Bitter pill, blind alley, blow, blunder, bringdown, bummer, bust, calamity, defeat, disaster, discouragement, downer, downfall, drag, dud, error, failure, false alarm, faux pas, fiasco, fizzle, flash in the pan, impasse, inefficacy, lemon, letdown, miscalculation, mischance, misfortune, mishap, mistake, obstacle, old one-two, setback, slip, washout. What do all these words have in common? They are all synonyms for disappointment.

Yesterday at lunchtime, my daughter Chloe asked me, “Mom, who invented disappointment?” If you don’t know my daughter, you may have to read a little about her challenges on this website’s ABOUT: Lisa Hempel page to appreciate how precious this question was to me. Everyday she makes me smile when I look at life through her eyes. Yesterday was no different. We had just left church, where our pastor shared in his sermon that the four best teachers he ever had in his life were Heartache, Disappointment, Failure and Grief. Chloe was still processing the sermon she heard which prompted this question. Not knowing how to answer her, I did the best I could. “I’m not sure who invented disappointment, but I do know who invented happiness!”, I said.  But Chloe’s question got me thinking.

We all have had many disappointments in our lives which cover the spectrum from ‘bummer’ to ‘calamity’.  The following photos are a look at the lighter side of diappointment.

I wish the only disappointments we had to face were as mild as these. But the truth is many of us have suffered one heartrending disappointment after another. Friends betray our trust, marriages end in divorce, siblings don’t speak to us, our children make poor choices, colleagues stab us in the back, companies lay us off after years of loyal service, doctors can’t cure us, our investments disappear overnight, dreams are crushed, the best-laid plans go astray, other Christians disappoint us, and very often, we disappoint ourselves.

According to the dictionary, disappointment is the feeling of being dissatisfied or unhappy because something that you hoped for or expected did not happen or because someone or something was not as good as you expected.  Why are we dissatisfied? I believe it is because we are looking for perfection where it can never be found.  Jesus said,

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14: 1-3)

We live in a world with disappointment. But we are not of this world! It doesn’t really matter who ‘invented’ disappointment. The more pertinent question is will we let God use it in our lives for His purposes? I like what Joni Eareckson Tada says in her book, When God Weeps.

God uses suffering (disappointment) to purge sin from our lives, strengthen our commitment to him, force us to depend on grace, bind us together with other believers, produce discernment, foster sensitivity, discipline our minds, spend our time wisely, stretch our hope, cause us to know Christ better, make us long for truth, lead us to repentance of sin, teach us to give thanks in times of sorrow, increase faith, and strengthen character. (Page 117)

I want to be able to embrace the disappointments of my life and let God use them as He sees fit to wrought in me that which He wants me to be. Lord help us make this the cry of our heart. I close with this prayer I recently came across. LH

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.

by Sir Francis Drake,
late 1500s

“Just Say Know” Bible Study

Day 1              Read  Isaiah 40: 26-31

  1. In this passage, where are we  supposed to put our hope?
  2. Have you ever complained like Jacob did in vs 27
  3. What does God promise to the weary and the weak?
  4. What will the Lord do for those who put their home in Him?

Day 2              Read Jeremiah 29:11-13; 31:17

  1. According to this scripture, what does God promise us?
  2. What kind of plans does God have for us?
  3. When we are disappointed what do need to do to get God to listen to us?

Day 3              Read Ezekiel 37:1-14

  1. Who is God speaking to?
  2. Why do think scripture describes the bones as “very dry”?
  3. What situations do you need God to resurrect in you life?

Day 4          Read Micah 7:5-7

  1. Ultimately, who is the only one we can trust and not be disappointed by?
  2. Have you ever been disappointed by a friend, a family member or a neighbor?
  3. Why do you suppose the writer says I will ‘wait’ for God?

Day 5              Read Romans 5:1-5

  1. Why can we have peace with God in our disappointments?
  2. Why should we rejoice in our sufferings(disappointments)?
  3. What does suffering produce?
  4. In this passage, what does not disappoint us? Why?
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is an aspiring Bounty Hunter who is always looking for God's Bounty-- His grace and goodness-- in the mundane and melancholy as well as in the miraculous. She is also a wife, mother of four adult children--two with Cerebral Palsy, grandmother and minister of the Gospel. "You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance." Psalm 65:11 NLT

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