Sunday, September 01, 2013

Dealing with the Big 'D' - Disappointment

I woke at 4am on the 17th July 2013 and knew that I was in deep trouble. It had been 3 years since I had last felt like that but there was no mistaking the symptoms. Acute pancreatitis was back with a vengeance. Later that day, in hospital again for the 62nd time, I reflected on what had just happened.  Like a hurricane blasting through a well-kept suburban garden, the flimsy construct of my newly healthy image of myself lay in shreds. To call my feelings 'disappointment' is like asking 'is the Pope Catholic?' but when pain cleared enough for me to think rationally that's how I felt - disappointed.

Ironically, during the last year I have been asked twice to teach a seminar entitled 'Dealing with Disappointment' at Christian conferences. At both of them, Elim Bible Week 2013 and a New Wine regional conference, both my wife and I and even the organisers were surprised at the number of folk who attended. It goes against the grain of Pentecostal and Charismatic conferences to even address the issues surrounding disappointment and very few organisers are brave enough to put this kind of title into their line-up. But the people who came spoke warmly of the help they had found through our teaching. Now, in the painful aftermath of the last few weeks, I am having to relearn the principles and choose each day to keep trusting God and not analysing my pile of rubble too closely. After all, God has not changed and His calling on my life is just as clear and certain, so I need to focus on that and not on my sense of loss, confusion or fear.

Today a dear friend has sent me a link to a new version of the old worship song Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. I have found real comfort and encouragement in this great piece of music and found my heart warmed by its honesty and hopefulness. I love the second verse that says:
Oh frozen hope, oh broken dreams
Just like a boat tossed on the raging seas
You will walk on waves again
When you have set your gaze on Him...

So, I suppose I'm really saying - if like me you have woken recently to a real setback or disappointment - don't abandon your hope in God.  In fact, fix your eyes even more closely than ever on His love for you and His amazing plan for your life. After all, He is the God of the second chance - and the third and the fourth and the fifth...! Let's turn our eyes away from the situation to focus on the Christ who walked on the stormy waters that threatened to drown the disciples. And that's a choice really. Today I choose to trust Him and though my body or my circumstances do dismay, He is not a disappointment.