I don’t want to speak for others but it seems fair to say that no one enjoys being disappointed.  I received some disappointing news yesterday.  The content of the news didn’t affect me directly but I felt sadness for the person it did affect.  I know my tendency to take on the feelings of others, at times, and I am working to refrain from doing that.  I am also working to remember all of the pearls of wisdom I have heard over the last forty years: that whatever happens is part of the divine unfolding of one’s life.  That no door closes without another door opening.  That we are never out of the range of God’s loving grace.  I do believe all of these things.  And I do know that there is a perfect outcome for every experience one walks through.  I also know that our disappointment need not last long and, in fact, will leave us quickly if we remember that God never gives us more than we can handle.  He does give us the experiences that will stretch us to be the people we are capable of being.

Disappointment can be good news, if viewed from this perspective.  It means we were headed in a direction that was slightly askew.  And that if we stand back, take a deep breath, and seek to know the right next step to take, we will be shown where to go, what to say and what to do.  I have been convinced of this from my own personal experience on many occasions.  One time, in particular, stands out in my mind.  One of the committee members for my dissertation informed me, with a mere 2 weeks before my final oral, that my 300 page dissertation had to be completely rewritten.  I was stunned.  But I sat quietly for a moment, took a very deep breath and asked if he’d be willing to walk me through the document in order to clarify his concerns.  He said, somewhat reluctantly, okay.  And then God took over.  I never heard his questions nor my answers.  For the next 3 and a half hours “we” were in dialogue and then he said, “Terrific. I am satisfied.”  I walked out of his office as stunned as when he first said this has to be rewritten.  But I did know that God had made a critical appearance.

That experience taught me that in every situation, God is waiting with a pocket full of clues to make our lives easier.  But we have to be willing to rejoice that the disappointments are part of the journey we need to get to our proper place in the wider scheme of our lives.  The next time you feel disappointed, trust that your journey is simply experiencing a detour.

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