Rising above disappointment

Everyone lives with disappointment at times. Minor setbacks, failed expectations, broken promises, health issues, or whatever life dishes up that causes a broken heart. Disappointment is real, it can seriously hurt, and it occurs in the Christian life just as it does for anyone else.

Moses knew the sting of disappointment, and especially in the early years of service for God. He felt the conflict between his desires for God, of failed expectations, and the disillusionment in his heart when he could not understand what was happening. In Exodus chapter 5, Moses had begun confronting King Pharaoh with God’s instruction to let the enslaved Israelite people go. Pharaoh didn’t like the idea at all, so he increased the Israelites workload and punished them more severely when his unrealistic demands were not met. Then Moses turned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all” (Exodus 5:22-23).

If nothing else, Moses spoke the raw truth of what was in his heart to God, and God graciously listened. Moses’ response to failed expectations of how Pharaoh should have responded backlashed against his love for God. In fact, Moses boldly laid the blame for his inability to rightly process what was unfolding between Pharaoh and Israel at God’s feet, accusing Yahweh of evil. It was all God’s fault, and Moses was seriously ticked off. Moses personalised Pharaoh’s disobedience by taking offence, not at Pharaoh, but at God’s sovereign role in the events. His deceptive heart converted disappointment into defiant challenge of God because Moses didn’t see the results he expected when he expected.

Moses experienced the same abrasive inner rub that we often feel when our expectations do not align with God’s will, God’s methods, or God’s timing. The disappointment we may experience has nothing to do with failure or wrong on God’s part, but it’s due to our heart condition and our wrongly applied knowledge of God. Somewhere along the way, we, like Moses, elevate our requirement for God to perform according to our wills and our desires. Like Moses, when we don’t get our way, our fleshly hearts are lured into becoming defiant.

So, how do we rise above this torturous struggle? Consider for a moment some of God’s response to Moses in Exodus chapter 6. God spoke further to Moses and said to him, “I am Yahweh; and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty… (Exodus 6:2-3). Moses, take a breath and remember who’s Almighty God in this situation? Remember how I repeatedly proved myself to be the loving and faithful LORD to your ancestors. Moses, you are not God, I AM, and I remember perfectly well the covenant I made with your ancestors (Exodus 6:4-5). Furthermore, I have heard the groaning of the sons of Israel… (Exodus 6:5a).

Moses, listen up! I am Yahweh, and I will bring you out from under the hard labours of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their slavery. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments (Exodus 6:6). You see, Moses needed to put God back in His rightful place within his heart and his thoughts. Which is precisely where we need to start when feeling the deep disappointments of life. God has not lost control, and He has not lost interest in us. Rising above disappointment has a start line, and acknowledging God’s loving faithfulness as LORD is that start line.

To be continued…

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