Dealing with disappointment in ministry is a major aspect to survival and long-term significance when it comes to serving Christ as a pastor or leader. Disappointment comes in many varieties: disappointment with God, others, family or just in our personal ministry progress. King David even vented through his psalms about personal disappointment with God and others. What I have found is that disappointment usually comes from expectations, more specifically wrong expectations. Here’s how it happens.
Even as ministry leaders, we all want ministry heroes, people we can look up to. We want people to model God for our lives, but when they fall...disappointment enters. I’ve found that a lot of great people get jaded in ministry circles because someone failed them but they expected them to be “God” in their life. We never seem to admit this, but it’s easier to get mad at the person than realize maybe we need to look at our expectations.
Peter dealt with this area personally in Matthew 16:22-23. “Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him (Jesus). ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’ Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.’”
Peter wanted Jesus to be what he expected Him to be and act the way he expected Him to act. He had a wrong expectation of God, which created disappointment. What I have found is wrong expectations of God are the breeding ground for spiritual disaster and resentment. It wasn’t that God failed; it was us that set Him up to fail.
So what do we do with disappointment?
Many of life’s problems come down to putting God and us in the wrong seat! Don’t put man on God’s throne and don’t put God in man’s chair.
When your expectations aren’t fulfilled, find your meaning not in what isn’t happening, but in what God is preparing in you. We must learn to trust God’s character even when we don’t see His plan.
David says it this way in Psalm 42:5, “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.”
I love this verse. It tells us that our help isn’t found in the answer to why we are going through what we are going through. The answer is found in His Presence! The help God has for us is found in the intimacy of HIS Presence!
We are the creation. God is the Creator. Maybe the important thing isn’t for God to fulfill our expectation but for us to fulfill His. What is God’s primary expectation for us? Trust and obedience.
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