Disappointment is a natural consequence of daring to hope. We hope for all kinds of things in life: we hope our jobs will produce income to pay all the bills, and we hope our families remain healthy. We hope our aging parents have life and vigor until their last days on earth. We hope our loved ones make good choices, and we hope traffic clears out before we head to work. What a tremendous blessing it would be if all our hopes were realized! But, as we are clearly told in Scripture by James, the brother of Jesus, in this life we will have trials and tribulations, and our hopes will not all come to pass. So, we accept that we will experience disappointment. How we handle it when it comes is so important.
The definition of disappointment is sadness caused by one’s hopes or expectations not being fulfilled. The sadness we experience from unrealized hopes shouldn’t be dismissed or left unaddressed. But if we neglect to move past it, disappointment can rob us of joy, focus, creativity, and deep relational connection.
But in the midst of disappointment, moving on from the feeling can seem nearly impossible. However, without exception, during my own seasons of deep disappointment, the Lord’s instructions to me never wavered. He simply said, “Keep your eyes on Me.” Hebrews 12:2 reminds us, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” When we’re stuck in our disappointment, Jesus directs us to shift our focus onto Him. And every time I simply obey by fixing my eyes on Him, my perspective shifts, and I’m able to move forward. Joy returns. Creativity reengages. And I can more easily connect with the people around me.
As we experience inevitable disappointment and learn to turn our gazes toward Him again and again, we become more and more confident in the One source of hope that will never disappoint us—our eternal hope in Jesus Christ.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment…” (Romans 5:3-5a, emphasis mine).