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Psalm 119:116 – Lord, sustain me as you promised, that I may live! Do not let my hope be crushed. (NLT)
We sat in a small group and talked about appointments and disappointments. When I have an appointment, someone has agreed to meet me at a certain time, or I've agreed to meet them. Disappointment is the difference between my expectations and what happens. If my doctor's appointment is cancelled when I really need to see him, I'm disappointed. If I expect my children to succeed in school and college and they don't, I'm disappointed. If I'm looking for a pay increase and don't get it, I'm disappointed. When I do everything that I should do to promote good health, only to find out that I have a terminal illness, I'm disappointed. When hope is crushed, I experience the disappointment.
Disappointment and crushing of hope have been friends of mine quite a few times. They showed up when my son decided to quit school. They walked in when a spouse walked out. They arrived when I was told someone else had been hired for the job. My drooling over a new car was sopped up by the salesman who said that my credit rating wasn't high enough for a loan.
For a shepherd, disappointments might be different. Perhaps the sheep didn't produce as much wool as he had hoped. Or a wild animal killed a few of his prize animals. Maybe one ate poisonous weeds or wandered too close to the edge of the mountain and fell to its death.
If I'm not careful, bitterness can stroll in when my hopes are crushed. There are few things in life that I can control. Everything else is controlled by the forces of nature or the actions of others. I can, however, remember that God is in control, no matter how bleak my circumstances appear. God is never disappointed — or surprised — because He knows everything that's going to happen. He orchestrates world events and the situations in my life. Believing in His unconditional love helps me to navigate the disappointments of life without their crushing my hopes.
Don't let life's disappointments crush your hopes. Trust God for the best.
Prayer: Father, guide us to look to You when circumstances attempt to crush our hopes. Amen.