May 2024

Well, they didn’t get to come…again. This was supposed to be the week that Hannah and Noah (and their parents) came to visit Oma and Opa. It was their Spring Break in Oregon and they were supposed to get on that plane and fly all the way to Georgia to see their grandchild attention starved Oma and Opa. But the northern half of the country got hit with a major Spring snowstorm that disrupted the whole airline industry and one flight delay snowballed into another until there was no way for them to make it. They were supposed to come this past Christmas but that didn’t work out either. I have to confess that in addition to Sunday night, Monday and Tuesday were pretty bluesy at Oma and Opa’s house. We were disappointed, to say the least.

 

There are a multitude of ways to deal with disappointment, some healthy, some not so much. We could just be glib and pretend like it’s no big deal. We could choose the Stoic route, you know; “stiff upper lip, don’t let it get to you, life’s full of disappointment so just get over it.” But ignoring the disappointment or stuffing it down rarely works in the long term. How about the blame game? “We must have done something wrong so we’re being punished.” “Maybe we’re just not good grandparents and that’s why our family has to live on the other side of the continent!” Sounds crazy, right? Definitely not helpful, but it’s one of the easiest traps to fall into when something we’ve really hoped for doesn’t work out. We could play the comparison game. That’s where we try to comfort ourselves with the idea of, “At least it’s not…” (insert this or that terrible thing that could have happened or that we know happened to someone else.) While making comparisons can help us move in the right direction and prompt us toward thankfulness, if we stop there, it won’t actually address the disappointment itself. Now I have to confess, Oma and Opa spent a little time in each of these. They are the default settings of the human heart and it takes a very intentional effort not to get stuck in them.

 

We need to know that the Lord has provided some very useful tools to help keep us from getting stuck and so, we put those into practice and in time we’ve walked out of discouragement and into a calm hopefulness. So, we prayed. But you need to know it wasn’t “Oh Lord, help us not to be discouraged” as if He’s supposed to wave His magic wand over us and make us feel all better. No, it was more like, “Lord, this hurts. It’s not what we want. We would rather have them here. But we know you have a plan and a purpose in allowing this and so we choose to trust you.” And then we recalled God’s word. This is more than simply quoting a Bible verse. We recalled His word and determined to trust it to be true. So we thought about James 1:2 and trusted that this trial, this disappointment will be used by the Lord to produce in us a persevering faith. We are choosing to believe that Romans 8:28 is more than just a nice sentiment to hang on the wall, but rather He really is working all of this together for good, because He truly loves us and has called us to be His. On top of all that we’re choosing to be thankful. Yes, thankful that something worse didn’t happen and thankful for the technologies that let us see them and talk to them, but also thankful that He is in control, thankful that He is present with us and thankful that there is an eternity coming where there will be no more separation, no more hurt or sorrow or disappointment.

 

We know, in the grand scheme of things, this is a minor disappointment. But what might seem minor to one person can be pretty major to another and in the moment, it felt major to us. So, we’re using the tools the Lord has given us to press the Gospel into our disappointment. Through prayer and His word, we’re remembering that Jesus came for us, lived for us and died for us, so that we have no reason, whatsoever, to doubt His love for us. We’re remembering that Jesus is raised from the dead to prove that He is in control of every circumstance and that His purpose and plan is genuinely good. And we’re remembering that, at this very moment, Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us and that He is preparing for the moment when He will return to gather us to Himself and make all things new. This is the only way I know of to deal with disappointment in a way that is both helpful and hopeful. May the Lord draw us daily into a deeper love and trust in Him.

 

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.” Rm. 8:28

 

IHMS,