"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 (NIV)
The other day a friend asked me if I ever get disappointed. I said yes and threw out a spiritually sound answer. Then the next day it happened. A really big disappointment whacked me upside the head and sent my heart sinking. I'd been asked to be part of a really big event—one of the biggest of my life—and then things fell apart.
Invited, thrilled, excited, honored, and included, turned into . . . uninvited, bummed, saddened, disillusioned, and left out. And while I still had solid spiritual perspectives to hold on to, my flesh just needed a minute to say, "Stink!"
Because sometimes things do stink. And disappointments come up that make us doubt God really does work for our good, like today's key verse reminds us.
Right when I wanted say "stink" a few more times, I spotted a bowl that'd been sitting on my dining room table for weeks. My daughter Brooke found some caterpillars a while back, put them in a bowl, and had been holding them hostage ever since. I mean she'd been lovingly admiring them underneath a layer of cellophane.
Wouldn't you know that those caterpillars formed cocoons inside that unlikely environment. And then, as I was muttering, "Stink!" I glanced across the table to that bowl and sucked the word back down my throat.
The cocoons were empty.
Expecting glorious butterflies, I was confused when I got right over the bowl and closely examined the product of my little girl's hopes for new life.
I just had to chuckle. Yet another thing in my day that wasn't quite right.
Or was it?
When Brooke spotted the moths, she was beyond thrilled. Grabbing my hand, she led me outside, ripped off the plastic barrier, and watched the beauty of tiny wings beating . . . beating . . . beating . . . and finally fluttering into flight.
As I watched Brooke's sheer delight, I realized she couldn't have cared less if they were moths or butterflies. Creatures that once only knew the dirt of the earth had just been given the gift of flight. Reaching, soaring up, up, and away.
And with that realization, this simple creature pulled up the corners of her mouth into a smile.
I decided to take one step away from disappointment and take one step toward the good God was working through the loss of the speaking event. I don't know why that amazing opportunity was offered to me, only to be taken away. But I do know this . . . I'd rather rejoice in what is and what will be, than wallow in what isn't. After all, disappointment only stings as long as I let it.
Dear Lord, thank You for Your mercies and patience in this journey of imperfect progress. Forgive me for allowing disappointment to capture my heart so easily. Adjust my perspective and help me to see the things You have brought to life in me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Think of a disappointing situation and the way you reacted to it.
How might the perspective, "Disappointment only stings as long as I let it," have changed your initial reaction?
Romans 5:5, "And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." (ESV)
Colossians 3:23-24, "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." (ESV)