We all have them. In fact I had one yesterday: disappointments! They are a part of life and no on is exempt. The Apostle Paul had people who let him down, places he wanted to bring the Gospel but was prevented from doing so, physical ailments that God did not take away. Just go down the list of Biblical characters and you will find a trail of disappointments behind them. It is part of the human condition. Some of those disappointments are irritations and some are deeply painful.
But all disappointments are also opportunities because God is the only one who can redeem any and all disappointments for His glory in our lives. Humanly, disappointments are just that. Spiritually, they are an opportunity to see what God intends to do either in the situation, in the lives of others or in our lives through them. That fact does not necessarily make them any easier to endure but it does give us hope that God can take what looks messed up to us and use it in ways we never dreamed of. God is not just in the business of redeeming hearts but in redeeming circumstances as well. And no one is more creative in how He does it than Him.
Consider this: how many ministries on this globe were started by someone who had walked through great disappointment and pain and because of it channeled their energies to helping others in similar situations. That is disappointment turned inside out for God's glory! Ask people passionate about some unique ministry how they got there and you will often find the beginning of the trail at disappointment!
In fact, ask yourself this question. "What were the greatest disappointments of my life and how did God use those disappointments to make me who I am today?" Most of the major ministry themes in my life can be traced back to disappointments that God turned into opportunities to minister to others. Can you see any of the same trails in your life?
Dealing with disappointments is influenced by how deeply we understand and believe in and trust God's sovereignty over our lives. This understanding does not lesson the pain of disappointments but it does give us a foundation for how we deal with them. I am convinced that nothing happens in our lives, good or bad that does not first pass by the hands of God and which He does not use for his purposes in our lives. That knowledge does not lesson the pain of disappointment. It does give me a reference point of faith in dealing with them. I can say in my heart, "God is up to something in this and He will redeem it for His glory if I let him and trust Him."
Moses had forty years to deal with his disappointment of being a fugitive on the run and then a simple shepherd before God redeemed his situation to lead his people out of bondage. Joseph had disappointments with betrayal from family and employers before God redeemed his situation for His purposes. David was anointed king and then chased for years by Saul and you hear the despair in his voice through the Psalms. The list goes on. I am on the list. You are on the list. God is in the business of redeeming our situation for His glory and our growth.
Yesterday I received one of those nice "no thank you letters" from a publisher who had previously said they would publish what I consider my best book. Disappointment. But then, I began to think "I wonder what God has in mind" because what to me is a disappointment is to Him an opportunity to demonstrate His creativity, His sovereignty and in the end His glory. What it takes from us is to turn our disappointments over to Him and ask Him to take them, redeem them and use them in a way that honors Him. We will often be surprised with what He does.