Bible Society of South Africa

Fear and worries: Disappointment – 21 February 2022

By Charlea Sieberhagen-Grey

Bible text(s)

Jesus the Way to the Father

1“Do not be worried and upset,” Jesus told them. “Believe in God and believe also in me.

When last were you disappointed about something? I think that most of us can recall an incident when we felt deeply disappointed. There is always that one incident that haunts us …

When I think about disappointment, my Grade 11 year immediately comes to mind. With matric around the corner, it was my heart’s desire to be elected as a member of the senior leadership team at the end of that year. I felt that I had worked hard and showed what I was capable of as a member of the student council. For context, I was conscientious: a bit of a “nerd”. At school – I studied hard and was involved in various school activities. I wanted to do everything by the book.

So, when I was not elected to the senior leadership team and all three my best friends were, I was totally devastated. I will never forget that absolute feeling of sorrow, dejection and complete disappointment.

I was angry, but at the same time, I felt helpless because I knew that I could do nothing to change the situation. I spent the night after the prize-giving in tears as the announcement was made during the ceremony. The disappointment for this teenage heart was just too much.

It may be a rather silly example, but in different phases of our lives, different things are important to us.

When I look back today – 16 years later – I do not write off those emotions or situation as absurd. My emotions were valid. But, I realise how valuable those experiences actually were, even though it was painful and felt bad. It was my first lesson in resilience – the ability to be able to bounce back after a setback. It was an experience that made me a little tougher and it taught me to choose how I would react to circumstances.

I believe with my whole heart that God used that disappointment to teach me a whole string of life lessons and to remind me to cling to Him whenever my heart is broken and things do not work out quite as I hoped or planned.

When I read John 14, I can just imagine that Jesus’ disciples also had to be very disappointed when they heard of his impending departure after they had spent so much time together. Yet, Jesus’ advice to them is so simple: They had to believe in God and also in Him and continue to trust.

Does this not apply to any kind of disappointment? We know God always has as plan. And His plans are in any case always better than our own.

Prayer: Lord, disappointment can make us feel despondent. Sometimes it leaves us feeling so incredibly heart-broken and hopeless. Help us to turn to you when we experience disappointment and please use the challenging circumstances to mould us and make us stronger. Amen

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