We all have them. Disappointments are a part of life in an imperfect world. Every day we face the possibility of disappointment with circumstances, people, and even ourselves. It may not sound spiritual but at times we are even disappointed with God’s ways – why doesn’t He do things the way we think He should?

You are not alone. In fact, the original followers of Christ faced many of the same questions and struggles. They too had to deal with disappointment. Some time ago I was meditating in Luke 24 on the encounter two disciples had on the road to Emmaus with the risen Christ. Of course, they did not know that it was Christ and could never have known all that He had planned.path

In that story the Holy Spirit showed me several helpful truths about dealing with disappointment in life. First, the story helps us to identify the causes of disappointment:

  • Disappointment comes from looking at the past and not at the future.

It is almost comical that Christ is standing in front of these disillusioned disciples and they are speaking of Him in the past tense, “Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet…” (v. 19) Remember that Christ is always present tense! He is. He is with you now.

  • Disappointment comes from watching the evil that other respected people do.

Men will always disappoint at some point. The chief priests and rulers had delivered Christ to be crucified (v. 20).  The middle verse of the English Bible is Psalm 118:8, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” The very next verse goes even further, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.” It is better to live by faith in God than to trust the best men.

  • Disappointment comes from what we thought the Lord should do instead of thoughts of who He is.

Hear their disappointment: “But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel” (v. 21). The object of our faith must be in who He is, not in what we think He should do!

  • Disappointment comes from not seeing things happen on our time-table.

As if circumstance were not already bewildering enough, the disciples lament, “Beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done” (v. 21). Yes, some had reported His resurrection, but they had not seen Him yet. Know this: God is always on time. Adrian Rogers once said, “With God, timing is more important than time.” More time may have elapsed than you would like, but in His perfect timing God will make all things plain.

  • Disappointment comes from talking to men instead of talking to God.

For over six and a half miles they walk, and talk. That was a long, sad conversation. And so will ours be if we direct our complaint to one another instead of to the Lord. Turn your burden into prayer. Hear the words of Jesus, “What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk and are sad?” (v. 17).

Along your journey there will be plenty of disappointments. Could I challenge you today to spend some time in Luke 24? Spend some time talking to God about your disappointment and listening to His voice. Disappointments do not always disappear but when Christ appears in them our whole perspective is changed.

The only way to deal with disappointment is in the presence of Christ.

(Click here to read more about bringing your expectations in line with God’s.)

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