I have little doubt that many people struggle with this concept. I mentioned yesterday that I preached on doubt through the life example of John the Baptist on Sunday. If we ever thought someone would never have any doubts, it would have been him. But he did. His expectations for what Jesus was going to do for him went unmet. His life did not end up the way he thought it was going to be.
In a more dramatic way, I believe there is a vast majority of people in the world that can resonate with the character Fantine from Les Miserables. Her life did not end up the way she thought it would. In the musical, at her very darkest place, we find her singing these words to the song, "I Dreamed a Dream."
"There was a time when men were kind; when their voices were soft and their words inviting. There was a time when love was blind; and the world was a song, and the song was exciting. There was a time; then it all went wrong."
"I dreamed a dream in time gone by when hope was high and life worth living. I dreamed that love would never die; I dreamed that God would be forgiving. Then I was young and unafraid and dreams were made and used and wasted. There was no ransom to be paid; No song unsung, no wine untasted."
"But the tigers come at night with their voices soft as thunder. As they tear your hope apart; as they turn your dream to shame."
She ends with this stirring thought:
"I had a dream my life would be so different from this hell I'm living. So different now from what it seemed; now life has killed the dream I dreamed."
[I have included Anne Hathaway's stirring rendition of this song. Watch it and be moved by it. It might not be the best vocal performance, but she nails what the character Fantine was feeling at that point in the story.]
I have met so many people that have felt this. I have felt it at times. So many people feel like their life is at the end and they become disappointed because it did not end up the way they thought it would end up. So how does the Christian handle this? I mentioned a few thoughts yesterday, but let me add one more today.
Could It Be That Most Of Our Disappointments Are A Result Of Worshipping Ourselves?
Yes, Jesus did come to bring us life and life more abundantly. But maybe we have just twisted that too far out of context. Maybe that has less to do with our little kingdom we are trying to build here on this earth and more about life in Christ more abundantly. Maybe, when we give ourselves fully to Him, He brings the joy in the storm. He gives the peace in the suffering. He gives the life in our death.
But when we are focused and give ourselves to the worship of ourselves and things do not turn out the way we think, we tend to get down on ourselves. I wonder if much of what we call "disappointment" actually is a result of the idol of ourself letting ourself down.
The question is not whether we will experience disappointment or not. The question is how are we going to respond to it. A mind that is set upon earthly things will always struggle when things do not go according to plan. The mind set on heavenly things will always trust when things do not go according to plan. Where's your mind set? Putting eternity into perspective helps us through life's disappointments.