Half empty or half full?

Have you ever been disappointed in your life? Perhaps you’ve saved money to buy that car you needed only to find out the last one was sold 10 minutes before you entered the shop and all they have left is a model you can’t afford. Or maybe, you were one mark, just one mark, short of passing that all important exam. You might have been waiting for that first date, and when it happened you realized he was not going to make the cut, as he was not the person he said he was on his Instagram or Facebook.

Other disappointments could be a diagnosis of a disease that was missed a few years previously and now it is too late to treat. It could also be that job interview that never happened or a promotion that was given to someone else. The house you were buying got taken off the market.

What do we do when we feel disappointed? Where do we go? Who do we speak to? What things do we allow our mind to be filled with during these times? Do we look at our cup and see it as half empty? How long do we allow the disappointment to linger in our hearts? Does it become the idol in our hearts?

Recently in a talk I delivered to the ladies in my church, I spoke of the discipline of conviction. Conviction being a belief that it is so strong that it changes the way we live our lives. This talk was part of a series on “Pursuing Holiness”. In our journey to become more Christ like we need to train ourselves to develop Bible based convictions.

The first thing we need is to believe the Bible is God’s word and the absolute truth. When we believe that it will be easier to understand that we need to live life based on the teachings God has given in His word.

You might be scratching your head asking: What does that have to do with disappointment? Bear with me. We will get there.

We also need to know that the Bible is a book about God. From the first page to the last it reveals to us His character and His will. It tells us that He is a God who is Sovereign, eternal, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, unchanging, self-existing, self-sufficient, infinite, incomprehensible, holy, loving, gracious, good, merciful, truthful, faithful, wise, just and righteous. These are only some of God’s attributes. This is the God we trust when we become Christians. The Bible tells us that He loves us so much that He initiated the greatest rescue plan – He sent His one and only Son to die for us on the cross.

Getting to know our Sovereign Lord through the pages of scriptures will help us to develop convictions which will change our behaviour. Even as I wrote the past sentence, I am thinking: I know God is Sovereign and his will is perfect (Romans 12:2), so my disappointment should not last. Right? I know that God will take care of my needs and that I should not worry (Matthew 6:25-34), so my disappointment should be momentary. Right?

Is my cup half empty? Why do I feel that I have been let down? Worse, I look at everybody else and think that their cup is half full. Have I sought God through the process preceding my disappointment? Have I brought my desires in line with what the Bible says I should pursue?

Often the problem is not that our cup is half empty or half full. The problem is that we have lost sight of the truths we learnt from the Bible and are not responding to the situation based on our convictions. We react to the situation based on our emotions alone. Don’t get me wrong. Feeling sad when a situation does not go the way we expected is not wrong. However, how we react to it might be.

We must be careful to put our trust completely in our Lord God when we feel disappointed. We may not understand why our situation has not gone according to what we expected but we must believe God has our best interest at heart. We must remember that God has redeemed us for Himself. He has brought us back to Him through Jesus and whatever situation we might be going through it is for our good (Romans 8:28).

If in our reaction to our disappointment we sinned, i.e. displayed an unjustified anger, or blamed God for what happened, or delighted in our misery too long until our hearts were full of bitterness, we must confess our sins before our God (I John 1:9).

Knowing our God more as we read the Scriptures will certainly help in developing convictions but we must trust Him. We must believe what we know about Him and most of all we must let the Holy Spirit teach us what we need to learn through all the situations we go through. God is still God and He is sovereign and good.

Photo by Joseph Greve on Unsplash

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