Once, when I failed to get a promised promotion, I was crushed by disappointment. I felt as if something precious had been snatched out of my hands. While struggling with my negative feelings I eventually saw that I had not really lost anything; I still had everything I had before. All that was missing was the hope of “more.”
Disappointment over unmet expectations can hurt as much as an actual loss, but it is important to acknowledge the disappointment and move past it.
Gratitude is the best antidote for disappointment. However, some people try to protect themselves from disappointment with a shield of pessimism. Their philosophy is, “hope for nothing and you can’t be disappointed.”
My mother tried to protect her children from the pain of disappointment by admonishing us not to get our hopes up. She didn’t want us to have to deal with failure or disappointment. My sense of hope was resistant to her advice, though, and I still expect glorious things to happen everyday, so disappointment is unavoidable.
Faith, hope and love are three of God’s sweetest gifts and each one leaves us vulnerable:
- If we don’t have faith, we don’t need to struggle with doubts.
- If we do not love, we are not exposed to grief.
- If we never hope, we can’t be disappointed.
Hope, and anticipation, can be as pleasant, or even more pleasant, as possessing what we long for. The reality can be less fulfilling than the dream.
If we are hoping and praying, but not getting what we pray for, then our disappointment may be the result of God’s perfect will. Our cherished hope may be for something we are not ready for, or for something harmful to us.
Much has been written about the positive role of failure in achieving success. Failure… trial and error… is a necessary process. The same is true of disappointment.
Never be afraid to hope. The pain of disappointment is a fundamental step in the process of spiritual growth and learning to accept God’s will.
Enthusiastically and optimistically try new things, even though you might fail. And cling to the hope we have in Christ Jesus, the one hope that will never be disappointed.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.Psalm 62:5