Bell Creek Community Church

A non-denominational church in Livonia, Michigan with Biblical teaching, worship, and kid's ministries.

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David Murray blogs on ministry, leadership, preaching, counseling, technology, and theology.
Updated: 25 min 34 sec ago

Six Steps out of Disappointment

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 2:00am

Your girlfriend drops you. Your family is at war. Your spouse commits adultery. Your best friend betrays you. Your fiancé breaks your engagement. The coach cuts you. A faction in the congregation wants your ministry to end. You suffer agonizing injustice. The church rejected you. Your wife left you and won’t let you see your children. Your womb is still empty.

Many different emotions are provoked by these painful experiences. But disappointment is the common denominator in all of them. Our hopes are dashed. Our dreams are shattered. Our expectations are unfulfilled. External events and the decisions of others produce the agony of disappointment. It is the opposite of hope and the forward-looking joy it brings. Instead, it looks backward with anger, bitterness, resentment, depression, and despair.

You simply cannot escape disappointment in this broken world (see the book of Ecclesiastes). No matter how many overly optimistic commencement addresses raise the hopes of wide-eyed students every spring, sooner or later all of them will end up disappointed. Friends will let them down. Family will let them down. Employers will let them down. Their nations will let them down. At times they will feel God has let them down.

If disappointment is so inevitable, how do we recover from it?

Prepare

First, prepare for it without becoming a nihilistic Eeyore. If we adopt a realistic attitude towards this world, then we will expect a measure of disappointment and not be shaken or swept away when it happens. That’s not defeatism or pessimism; it’s realism. It involves expecting and rejoicing in the goodness and kindness of God and others. But we don’t get carried away into over-confidence and complacency. In this way, we brace ourselves for the body blow that is sure to come without losing the benefit of delighting in God when things are going well (see Psalm 104 and Psalm 136).

Share

Share your disappointment. Tell the Lord about what you are experiencing. Be completely honest and transparent. Describe how you are feeling. Or if you can’t find words, bring him your tears and groans (Psalm 56:8) and ask him to interpret and treasure them.

Alternatively, use the words provided in the Psalms of Lament (for example Psalms 44, 60, 74, 77, 79, 88). These songs contain a lot of God-centered therapy for the disappointed. Note that the psalmist doesn’t attempt to hide his disappointment from God. He knows that covering and denying is never going to lead to healing.

But don’t just share it with the Lord; share it with his people as well. We need all the help we can get when we are down. Therefore, while we cast our burdens on the Lord, knowing that he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7), we also ask our fellow believers to share the weight of our disappointment with us (Galatians 6:2).

Remember

Remember that the Lord Jesus knew deep disappointment from his days on this earth. His disciples let him down continually. All forsook him, one denied him, and one even betrayed him. He knows the pain and frustration you are experiencing. He can sympathize with you and support you as you reel from the blows (Hebrews 4:15). He is the friend who sticks closer than any brother (Proverbs 18:24). He will not leave you nor forsake you.

Submit

Humble submission and acceptance rather than arrogant fighting is the way through this dark valley and into the light. Nothing can be gained by taking vengeance on our disappointers, or by angrily shaking our fist in God’s face. No, we must confess, “Lord, I don’t understand how they could do this or you could allow this. But I’m going to bow before your sovereignty and believe you know best and that this is for my best.” This is not to say that justice must never be pursued when we are wronged; but it is to hand over the administration of justice to God and those he has appointed to this task.

Grow

Use disappointment to grow in sanctification and service. In terms of sanctification, use the pain you feel to make you resolve never to inflict this on other people if you can help it. Or maybe look back on your life and think of times you disappointed people and see if you can put it right in a godly way. You can also use disappointment to serve others by ministering to the disappointed all around you with the comfort with which you have been comforted by God (2 Corinthians 1:4).

Hope 

Finally, rekindle eternal hope. While earthly hopes may have been dashed, at least for a time, the Christian still has a heavenly hope that no amount of earthly disappointment can take away. Indeed, earthly disappointment can help us to redirect our hopes towards that which is spiritual and eternal. There is a day, an eternal day in the not-to-distant future, when all disappointment will be taken away and when all things will not only be new but will remain new. Every possible source of disappointment will be removed, and all our hopes will be fulfilled (Revelation 21:1–8).

This article was originally published at Desiring God

Check out

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 1:00am

Well, I’m back! Apart from the Exploring the Bible videosI’ve posted virtually nothing on the blog for the past six months or so. I’ve really missed providing this service, but I was working on a large research project that I’d never have finished unless I had ruthlessly pruned my blogging. 150,000 words later, the finish line is in sight and I’m eager to get blogging again. Thanks for your patience and hopefully you will not all have deserted me. I appreciate everyone who takes the effort to click their way over here regularly and I hope I can make it worth your while.

Blogs

5 Myths About Depression
By Michael Lundy, author of the new book, Depression, Anxiety, and the Christian Life: Practical Wisdom from Richard Baxter. “This book presents 17th-century pastor Richard Baxter’s wise, gentle advice to comfort and strengthen all who struggle with depression or know someone who does.”

The Pastor’s Health (Podcast)
Jared Wilson and Noah Oldham talk food and exercise.

101 Books on Biblical Theology: An Annotated Bibliography
A lifetime of reading right there.

Dear Church, Hear the Word of the Lord
“Many of us are grieved at the wreckage in the church that occurs when victims are silenced, abusers are protected, power is abused and “truth” is disseminated to the less powerful. The body of our Lord is sick. Here are some thoughts for her.”

Lessons on the Craft of Scholarly Reading
“Rookie scholars and established ones alike could benefit from a clearer, more detailed understanding of how to read effectively. For me, the craft of scholarly reading proceeds in three phases, each with goals and pitfalls.”

Books


Church History in Plain Language $1.99.

The New City Catechism for Kids: Children’s Edition $1.99.

Christ from Beginning to End: How the Full Story of Scripture Reveals the Full Glory of Christ $2.99.

Video

The Haunting Beauty of Scotland
I was in Scotland the week or two before Tim arrived and saw wall-to-wall sunshine for ten days and temps of about 70 degrees. Positively Hawaiian for Scotland. Unfortunately for Tim, it looks like I used up Scotland’s annual sunshine allowance. Also see his vlog on The Beauty and History of Scotland.

Expedition 26: A Temple and a River

Sat, 08/11/2018 - 8:38am

With apologies for the delay, here’s the video for Expedition 26 in Exploring the Bible. If you want to bookmark a page where all the videos are posted, you can find them on my blog, on YouTube, or the Facebook page for Exploring the Bible.

If you haven’t started your kids on the book yet, you can begin anytime and use it with any Bible version. Here are some sample pages.

You can get it at RHBWestminster BooksCrossway, or Amazon. If you’re in Canada use Reformed Book Services. Some of these retailers have good discounts for bulk purchases by churches and schools.

Expedition 25: A Strange Place

Tue, 07/17/2018 - 11:55am

Here’s the video for Expedition 25 in Exploring the Bible. If you want to bookmark a page where all the videos are posted, you can find them on my blog, on YouTube, or the Facebook page for Exploring the Bible.

If you haven’t started your kids on the book yet, you can begin anytime and use it with any Bible version. Here are some sample pages.

You can get it at RHBWestminster BooksCrossway, or Amazon. If you’re in Canada use Reformed Book Services. Some of these retailers have good discounts for bulk purchases by churches and schools.

Expedition 24: The Growing Excitement

Sun, 07/08/2018 - 11:45am

Here’s the video for Expedition 24 in Exploring the Bible. If you want to bookmark a page where all the videos are posted, you can find them on my blog, on YouTube, or the Facebook page for Exploring the Bible.

If you haven’t started your kids on the book yet, you can begin anytime and use it with any Bible version. Here are some sample pages.

You can get it at RHBWestminster BooksCrossway, or Amazon. If you’re in Canada use Reformed Book Services. Some of these retailers have good discounts for bulk purchases by churches and schools.

Expedition 23: Looking into the Distance

Sat, 06/30/2018 - 5:06pm

Here’s the video for Expedition 23 in Exploring the Bible. If you want to bookmark a page where all the videos are posted, you can find them on my blog, on YouTube, or the Facebook page for Exploring the Bible.

If you haven’t started your kids on the book yet, you can begin anytime and use it with any Bible version. Here are some sample pages.

You can get it at RHBWestminster BooksCrossway, or Amazon. If you’re in Canada use Reformed Book Services. Some of these retailers have good discounts for bulk purchases by churches and schools.

Expedition 22: Love Songs

Sun, 06/24/2018 - 8:05am

Here’s the video for Expedition 22 in Exploring the Bible. If you want to bookmark a page where all the videos are posted, you can find them on my blog, on YouTube, or the Facebook page for Exploring the Bible.

If you haven’t started your kids on the book yet, you can begin anytime and use it with any Bible version. Here are some sample pages.

You can get it at RHBWestminster BooksCrossway, or Amazon. If you’re in Canada use Reformed Book Services. Some of these retailers have good discounts for bulk purchases by churches and schools.

Expedition 21: A Dangerous Detour

Sat, 06/09/2018 - 8:42pm

Here’s the video for Expedition 21 in Exploring the Bible. If you want to bookmark a page where all the videos are posted, you can find them on my blog, on YouTube, or the Facebook page for Exploring the Bible.

If you haven’t started your kids on the book yet, you can begin anytime and use it with any Bible version. Here are some sample pages.

You can get it at RHBWestminster BooksCrossway, or Amazon. If you’re in Canada use Reformed Book Services. Some of these retailers have good discounts for bulk purchases by churches and schools.

Expedition 20: The Choice

Sat, 06/02/2018 - 9:59pm

Here’s the video for Expedition 20 in Exploring the Bible. If you want to bookmark a page where all the videos are posted, you can find them on my blog, on YouTube, or the Facebook page for Exploring the Bible.

If you haven’t started your kids on the book yet, you can begin anytime and use it with any Bible version. Here are some sample pages.

You can get it at RHBWestminster BooksCrossway, or Amazon. If you’re in Canada use Reformed Book Services. Some of these retailers have good discounts for bulk purchases by churches and schools.

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