Someone suggested that the way to avoid disappointment was: “Expect nothing and you’ll never be disappointed.” But the Apostle Paul gives the opposite advice: “Dream big! Your disappointment can be God’s greatest appointment for your life!” In fact, as Lewis says, the problem with our expectations is not that we desire too much; but that we are satisfied with so little. When we are disappointed, we need to raise our expectations. Determine that you will not be satisfied with anything less than God’s best. Remembering God’s best is better, and different, than ours.
Let me recommend some fascinating reading to supplement our study. It is the true life and best-selling story of Joe Jacobson, The King of Disappointment. If you’ve read the biography of Joe, you know that he was well acquainted with both disappointment and life in the pits. As a youth, Joe had a vision for his life. He believed it was God’s will, even though it seemed too grand to be believed – even by his family. In fact, they resented his vision and gave him the nickname, the dreamer. Their resentment grew to the point they abandoned Joe and he soon found himself serving as an unpaid servant – a long way from his life-dream.
Many would have trashed their dreams at that point, but instead of growing bitter Joe pursued his dream by being the best servant he could. His boss was so impressed with his character and integrity that he put him in charge of all his household and personal affairs. It finally seemed like Joe’s dream had a chance of being rescued from the dumpster. But disappointment strikes again when Joe was falsely accused in a sexual harassment case and then given an overly harsh prison sentence without due process.
Joe was sentenced as a teenager, and spent all his twenties in prison with no hope of parole. Yet, even unjustly imprisoned, Joe didn’t give up on his dream. His character and skill were evident to the prison warden and he was given responsibility for the cell block and even the whole prison ward. He built a prison ministry inside the walls of a maximum-security lock-down. In time Joe’s wisdom and leadership skills were recognized and he was freed for a high-level government consultation. As a result, he was appointed second in command in the most powerful nation on the face of the earth.
Joe’s dream was ultimately fulfilled when he used his authority, position and wisdom to rescue his family from starvation. Instead of growing bitter and hard in the dungeon of disappointment, Joseph had grown in mercy, grace and authority which He used to serve God’s purpose and bless the very people who had sent him to Pharaoh’s prison. (Original report in Genesis 37-50).
So, will you join us this week as we ask, again: “How can I handle life’s disappointments?” We are studying the Handbook of Hope for Life’s Dungeons and will look at another prison experience to learn how to accept life disappointments as God’s appointments. We will also hear a modern, true-life story of how God disappointed a family for a year, to ultimately bless them and the body of Christ!
“(What others) meant for evil against me, God meant for good in order to bring about this present result!” Genesis 50:19