“Man can be destroyed – But not defeated” These were the words of Ernest Hemingway, an American author, a journalist and most of all a man who lost hope, when his fiancée Agnes changed her mind at the last moment and married another man. He resorted to Alcohol in order to deal with this greatest disappointment of his life.
Disappointments are common to all of us and each one of us has our own coping mechanisms. It should be noted however that the grace of God is the greatest coping mechanism of all and how we respond to our disappointments determine whether or not will experience his grace. In today’s sermon I am going to share three Christ like responses all of us can follow at times of disappointments so that we can receive his grace.
1. Deal with your emotions
(A) Disappointments cause many undesirable emotions. They become harmful to you and people around unless handled properly.
(B) Examples of such emotions: anger, unforgiveness, frustration, hopelessness, and long lasting sorrow. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to deal with these.
(C) People who dealt with their emotions successfully: Naaman obeyed (2 Kings 5:11-14), Jesus restored Peter (John 21:15-17) and Job praised God (Job 1:20-21).
2. Don’t blame others
(A) Blame is a very common method people use to cope with the pain of disappointments. This is a fruit of our sinful nature.
(B) Some blame God for disappointments. In the Bible though, people who overcame their disappointments actually never blamed God, (Job 1:22)
(C) Some blame others. It works sometimes, (Acts 6:1-5). But worsens the situation most of the time, (2 Kings 6:30-31). Don’t allow room to the spirit of blame in your life.
3. Be realistic
(A) Someone said great expectations lead to great disappointments. Sometimes we get disappointed because our expectations were wrong, (Ruth 1:1-5; 20-21)
(B) God has given each one of us a certain measure of faith. Don’t think too highly of yourself, (Romans 12:3)
(C) Don’t expect God or even your spouse to behave the way you want. It’s simply unrealistic. It will never happen.
Hemingway refused to move on in life. One day he finally put a gun in his mouth and ended his life at the age of 61. God wants us to move on in life. In conclusion let me tell you three things we all should to so that we can keep moving despite disappointments.
(A) Hemingway had a bright future and a life ahead of him but he allowed his emotions to drive his actions. I want to encourage you tonight, to deal with your emotions leave your disappointments at the cross so that you shall not miss the glorious future God has for you.
(B) Many people believe they can hurt others if they hurt themselves. Hemingway probably thought the same. Unlike Hemingway, let’s forgive those who disappoint us, so that God can restore us.
(C) Let us not live in our own worlds like Hemingway but face the reality. God is sovereign and sometimes when we pray he will change us instead of our situations. If you are married, patiently learn to enjoy each other’s differences instead of trying to change them.
From now on, apply these three truths every time you are disappointed and God will give you strength and grace to move on. (Finish with the song “Give them all to Jesus”)
Image: Mariano Tals