One Too Many Disappointments


disappointedTo live is to experience disappointment.  Some disappointment is quickly forgotten, like a bump in the road. Others plunge us into despair and hopelessness, paralyzing our hearts with complacency and indifference.

For some, the despair comes from one major disappointment. For others, it comes as a result of a long series of unmet expectations and unfulfilled promises.

When life deals one too many disappointments, the natural response is to protect oneself by building walls around your heart as if to vow, “I’ll never be hurt again.” Such a vow guarantees a life of less thans. Less than joy. Less than passion. Less than fully alive. A life supposedly restricted from the depths of pain is also a life restricted from the depths of love.

Some people pretend that all is well in their soul, offering empty smiles and hiding behind the façade. They dare not let anyone into the emptiness, an emptiness laced with shame as if to say, “The darkness inside me speaks of my unworthiness, my failure, and to allow you to see it would prove its existence.”

Many become disillusioned, depressed, hopeless. One look into their eyes reveals their broken heart and reflects the pain of their soul.

Some embrace the false promises of drugs, alcohol, sex, food, shopping, or a million other things, cheap substitutes to numb the pain or temporarily escape its crushing weight and unwittingly become bound by the very things they hoped would help them through the darkness.

Others hide behind religion believing God is the source of their disappointments and claiming it is His way of either punishing them or perfecting them. We allow our hearts to be anesthetized because we simply can’t find the strength to wrestle with God for answers and healing, or we feel He would strike us down with lightning if we dare rip open our hearts to Him and be honest about our questions (as if to think He doesn’t know what is in our heart).  Yet He invites us into such places, “Come, let us reason together.” (Isaiah 1:18)

Fewer still face full into the pain. Own the disappointments. Enter the darkness, refusing to run from what is true in their heart and somehow find the strength to go through the pain to find their way out of it.

It requires a certain vulnerability, a risk, to face the pain for to face the depths of one’s disappointments with a heart that dares to still believe in hope and love and future, means to make oneself available to experience disappointment again. To be hurt again.

How does one make it through the valley of disappointment and come out on the other side still believing in the goodness of God and the good in man?

When the valley is deep, time will most always be factor. In Psalm 23, the Psalmist David declared, “When I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

David knew what it meant to walk through dark valleys. Some of those valleys were the result of his sin. Some a result of the sins of others, but David spoke life to his own heart by reminding himself that God was his shepherd, the one who would somehow, someway, take care of his needs, provide rest and restoration for his soul, take care of his enemies, and comfort him with the presence of the Holy Spirit. Even in the valley of the shadow of death, David clung to a faith that believed God’s goodness and mercy were present, even in the valley, and would be present all of his life.

As much as we hate to accept it, time offers a process during which one can find healing. I don’t believe the cliché that says, “Time heals all wounds,” because it doesn’t. Time doesn’t heal. God does. And other people are a part of the process, but the process is one that requires the element of time.

Certainly in our American culture, where we drive-thru, microwave, instant message, and are used to having it all right this very minute, we hate to embrace the process of God’s working in time.

The ideas of waiting on God and walking through a valley instead of jumping over it or detouring around it, are ideas we disdain. We feel a sense of shame when “we are not better yet” as if we could wave a magic wand and make everything normal again.

We often attach no value to a process of time, and yet I find that the things secured in our hearts over a process of time are not easily lost. The lessons learned by walking through a valley become a part of who we are while we can be prone to forget a lesson learned in ten minutes.

In my life, so much of God’s greatest work has been layer by layer, inch by inch. I’ve lived moments when I had no hope, when the darkness shrouded everything. Yet God was with me. His rod and staff comforted me even when I doubted Him. Just as a shepherd would pull his sheep out of a dangerous place with his staff and guides and corrects it with his rod, God has always walked me through those places.

Over the process of time, God healed my heart. Restored my vision. Strengthened my faith. Made me better. Stronger. Hopeful.

If you feel you’ve had one too many disappointments and it seems too painful to even pray, you can know that God is still with you. Jesus is interceding for You. (Romans 8:34) The Word of God stands true. He works everything for your good, even the bad things, the disappointing things.

Jesus’ first message included, “I’ve come to heal the brokenhearted.”  (Luke 4:18) On the cross, he trumped the power of evil and pain and disappointment. Although you may find yourself in a dark place, God is doing more than you know. He is weaving all the threads of your life together into a beautiful tapestry of His grace. And although the process may be slower than you’d like, the result is a glorious masterpiece, the masterpiece of you (Ephesians 2:10).

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  1. Song says:

    Mikki! I love, love, love this post. Last year was so painful for me. It rarely hurts anymore, but it hurt BAD! I hope I carry those lessons with me! God doesn’t waste pain. And I always knew that He was near my broken heart. Thank you for writing this!

  2. Noemi says:

    “If you feel you’ve had one too many disappointments and it seems too painful to even pray” – that’s me; I always find some measure of comfort in your blog posts. Thank you, Mikki.

  3. Mikki says:

    Hi Noemi,

    My heart goes out to you. I am praying for you today.

  4. Noemi says:

    Thanks. 🙂

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