Disappointment; Why You Need to Look Past It
You’re going to be disappointed.
It’s the movie or television series based on that book you loved. It’s the item you ordered online that promised to stop snoring but turned out to be a kazoo for your nose. It’s the season finale of Seinfeld (for those of you who are old enough). It’s the raisins in a chocolate chip cookie.
You’re going to be disappointed.
Worse, you’ll be disappointed in people. We will disappoint you. You don’t have to read far to see Jesus’ disappointment with people. I believe the first instance may have been at a wedding celebration with his mother.
“Dear woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come (John 2:4).”
The bride and groom had run out of wine. They would have been embarrassed and shamed in social circles. Mary calls on her son Jesus.
“Do everything he tells you.” She says to the servants. She doesn’t even acknowledge Jesus’ comment.
Another mother comes to Jesus later. “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom (Matthew 20:21).”
“You don’t know what you are asking.” Jesus replies.
Jesus is talking with his disciples in a boat. “Watch out. Beware the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod (Mark 8:14-15).”
The disciples are confused. “Is he hungry?” Someone asks. “We only have one loaf, it’s because we didn’t bring any bread.”
“Why are you talking about bread?” Jesus sighs. “When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basket-fulls of pieces did you have left over?”
“Twelve.” They replied.
“And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many?”
“Why are you talking about having no bread?” Jesus asked. “Do you have eyes but fail to see, or ears and fail to listen?”
Can you hear the frustrated disappointment in the men that had spent so much time with him? This is what he had to work with. These were the men he was relying on to share his teaching and they didn’t understand.
The Pharisees, the teachers of the law, were asking for a sign. He was healing those who came to him and teaching, but they continued to ask for a sign. Mark eight verse twelve says Jesus sighed deeply, he was so frustrated. Perhaps he was disappointed by their refusal to understand or see what he was showing them.
Speaking to one of the Pharisees in secret he said, “You are Israel’s teacher and you don’t understand these things?” I have spoken to you about earthly things and you don’t believe; how will you believe if I speak of heavenly things (John 3:1-12)?”
You can imagine his monumental disappointment as he teaches, heals, casts out demons, and plays political chess all the while knowing it all ends with an excruciating execution by the very people he is saving. To top it off, they don’t understand what he is doing.
Jesus explains to his disciples he will suffer and die. Peter argues with Jesus, “Never. This will never happen.”
“Get behind me Satan.” Jesus responds. “You are a stumbling block to me. You don’t have the concerns of God, but the concerns of man (Matthew 16:23).”
Jesus maintained his course. Regardless of his disappointment and frustration he looked beyond the ignorance in the moment. He knew their potential. He continued to love them. He loved them beyond death and into life.
A good parent or teacher disciplines themselves to do the same. As adults and leaders, the bigger picture is visible. A child only sees what’s around them in the moment. Their vision is clouded with emotion and the urgency of now. Mistakes and bad decisions are made in the fog of right now, this leads to disappointment.
Fathers, mothers, teachers and mentors are often seen as weak by the younger student or child. Discipline and meekness are often misunderstood by the hot-headed child as weakness or fear. However, its true nature is strength tempered by experience, it’s maturity.
Disappointment triggers anger, despair and possibly regret.
Jesus has withdrawn to a home hoping to be left alone. He did not want anyone to know where he was. But word got around and a Syrophoenician woman falls at his feet asking to free her daughter from a demon. She is a Gentile. Jesus seeming to be overwhelmed and frustrated refers to her people as dogs. “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs (Mark 7:27).”
Disappointment and frustration, but then there is a ray of light.
“Even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” The woman pleads.
She understands who the bread of life is. She gets it.
“For such a reply you may go. Your daughter is healed.” Jesus consoles the woman.
Another time Jesus is surrounded by a crowd. Everyone is bumping into him and touching him. Suddenly Jesus stops and asks, “Who touched me?”
The disciples are confused. “Everyone is touching and pressing in on you.” Peter says.
“No, I felt the power go out of me.”
A woman confesses she touched Jesus and was instantly healed. “Daughter, your faith has healed you.” Jesus says.
Another ray of light through the cloud of disappointment. She understood.
Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”
“You are the Messiah, the son of the living God.” Peter replies.
The light continues to grow. Peter is beginning to understand, through the revelation of the Holy Spirit.
Paul was a teacher disappointed in the cowardice of a student named Mark. On their missionary journey Mark turned back and went home. The next trip Paul had no time for Mark and refused to take him. But Barnabas took Mark with him. Mark grew under the tutelage of Barnabas.
In Paul’s last days he wrote from prison requesting the presence of Mark. “Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry (Luke 4:11).”
Barnabas saw past the disappointment.
Jesus saw past the disappointment.
Disappointment is a cloud, it’s not the end. Don’t let it blind you to the potential.
May you forgive as Jesus forgave
May you have the faith of a woman touching Jesus
May you see and believe
May you see past the disappointment and benefit from your faith
In His service and yours,