It is very hard to handle disappointment. Not many people have perfected the art of dealing well with bad news, setbacks, etc. I guess having a ‘happy-go-lucky’ or phlegmatic personality helps somewhat, but even people like that won’t necessarily react well to difficulty or trouble.
Often when bad things happen we are prone to asking “why?”.
Greg Haslam was the former pastor of Westminster Chapel, and I had the pleasure of meeting him and sharing a number of conversations with him during an FIEC conference a few years ago. Most of the time I spent benefitting from his wisdom and experience as he talked about the ups and downs of his ministry. I very much enjoyed his company and was happy that he often made an effort to sit with me at the various meal times. It recently occurred to me that I hadn’t heard about him in years, and then I got the sad news that he had passed away, but what was more tragic and in fact more perplexing, was that he had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for the last 4 years. My immediate reaction was to mourn the fact that he had had such a sharp and intelligent mind, but must have spent the last years almost unaware of anything, his body little more than an empty shell. How could God allow this to happen to His servant, one of His under-shepherds?
I am sure we have all asked similar questions regarding what happened to our sister Marcia, and how come she was taken away from us so suddenly. She had so much more to offer. How can that be compensated for? And that is before we consider our own personal sadness at the loss of her.
Some of the fellowship groups are beginning a series on the Psalms and managing our emotions. Some of the Psalms are ones of orientation, written when life makes sense. But others are Psalms of disorientation, written when life doesn’t make any sense.
It is great that we have this sort of honesty in the Bible, as that is sometimes where we are ourselves. It is also comforting to know that most of the Psalms of disorientation turn into ones of reorientation, when the Psalmist’s outlook is that life is beginning to make sense once again.
For example, take a read of Psalm 22, the beginning of which Jesus quoted in agony on the cross. It starts with the Psalmist asking why God has abandoned him but ends with him testifying to God’s mighty works. We may not get all the answers in this life, but we can trust God to be with us and to pull us through if we lean on Him.