Have you ever been so disappointed you felt like your heart was sinking into a pit of despair and all hope was lost? I think everyone has at one time or another. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
Although disappointments come for different reasons, the most oft expressed seems to involve relationships and trying to find love. Carolyn McCully, a Christian author said, “Much of our disappointment in relationships is not because people have actually wronged us, but because they have failed to meet our expectations.” While I think her statement is true to a large degree because disappointments come from unmet expectations, I also think that as we have moved away from following Jesus and even sought to remove the Ten Commandments, we actually tend to wrong each other more. We should be able to expect common courtesies, but fewer and fewer have been taught good manners, and our world has become more of a selfish, dog-eat-dog world instead of one that practices the Golden Rule. Instead of being taught to truly love and serve others, we are encouraged to love and serve ourselves. The problem is we already love ourselves as expressed through various forms of self-preservation. We just wish someone else would love and not reject us, too.
“He who plants thorns must never expect to gather roses.” –Arabian proverb
People say, “I just won’t expect anything, and then I’ll never be disappointed,” and yet, they often find themselves disappointed time and time again. The key isn’t in never expecting anything at all. That’s impossible. The key can be found in a Panamanian proverb, “If you want no disappointments, don’t indulge in illusions.” Find out what is true and reasonable, be prepared to accept or adjust for temporary delays or set backs, and be willing to practice patience and grace. “Flexible people don’t get bent out of shape.” And when a desire is finally fulfilled or an expectation met, it is especially uplifting and appreciated when there has first been a delay. Sometimes you might even be glad you didn’t get what you’d originally hoped for.
Some people might feel like God is disappointed with them and sees them as a hopeless case. So not true! God, who is omniscient, is never disillusioned, so He cannot be disappointed. His Father-heart may be breaking at witnessing the hurt and pain we and others feel as a result of wrong doing, but He is not disappointed, and He never sees us as a hopeless case. He is always working to draw us closer and not to push us away like people sometimes do.
“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” –Psalm 103:8-14
Although we don’t fully know Him and sometimes have misguided expectations because of things we’ve heard or been taught about Him, He knows us. He knows you. Even the ugly parts. And He loves you anyway. There is hope. If you’ve ever fallen in love and felt wonderfully alive, then you might be able to imagine what it feels like to realize just how much Jesus loves you. He will not push you away.