Like most people, I’ve faced a lot of disappointment in my lifetime. I feel like I’m pretty used to it. Unfortunately, it seems like I’ve been handed more than my fair share lately. Some of these disappointments have been major life-sized disappointments, some have been minor messing-up-my-day disappointments. Some have been somewhere in between.
Yesterday I had an “in between” disappointment. Even though, in the grand scheme of things, this disappointment won’t even be a blip on the radar screen, for some reason, today, even more than yesterday, it feels like a big deal.
Maybe we have a finite amount of ability to hack disappointment. Sure, over time, it can be replenished, but if we have too many disappointments too close together, our ability-to-hack-it tank gets emptied out. Over the past couple months I coped through a couple major disappointments with a certain amount of grace and stoicism (I like to think so, anyway). But in doing so I depleted my ability-to-hack-it tank and now I’m left with nothing but brownies and chips from the church kitchen. (Why people? Why do you leave tempting food in the kitchen?)
I used the handy dandy concordance in my Bible to find something useful to get me through. Expecting to find lots of inspiring references under “disappoint” (Psalms, anyone?) there was but one: Romans 5: 5. Flipping to it, I found I’d marked this lovely passage (gotta love a good long Pauline sentence): …we also boast of our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. (In case anyone was wondering, here’s a hint to the origin of my character. Heaven knows, I’ve got character in spades…)
I know that on the grand scheme of things, I’ve got it pretty good. World-wide, I’m a one percenter. Even by US standards, I’ve got it pretty good, so I question my right to even be moping and whining at all. And yet, when hopes and dreams are shattered, it’s gonna hurt, regardless. But hurt and disappointment do not get the last word. My ability-to-hack-it tank will be refilled and I’ll live hack another disappointment.
Take it away, Paul: …hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.