Disappointment, the dictionary defines as a miscarriage of design or plan; a defeat or failure of expectation, hope, wish, desire or intention; the feeling of sorrow caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.

I just know it stings, and its poison can sink deep into every weak crevasse of our heart and soul and begin to eat away at our being, our hope for being.

There is so much in my heart that wants to pour out about this — not just to tell you my sad stories, but to bring hope. My thoughts are spilling over into messes all over the pages, and I cannot seem to share them in a way that might help you, that makes sense, or that will help you make sense of the disappointments you have gone through. And maybe that’s just it. There is no sense to it. Disappointment doesn’t always make sense, and it can be experienced and expressed and interpreted in many ways, and it’s not one-dimensional.

As I am writing and praying and studying and seeking, I am thinking about you, and the pain of the disappointment you have felt. It makes me want to cup your face, look in your eyes, and tell you, I know. He knows.

I know.

I know what it’s like to put my hope in someone. And we know we are not supposed to, that our hope should be in God alone, that man will always fail us, and God never will. But still, I’ve done it. I’ve looked for answers in someone else. I’ve trusted with all my heart and offered it, too. Only to have it returned battered and bruised and never wanting to trust again.

I know what it’s like to desire something so desperately and ache in the yearning for it.

I know what it’s like to have the dream inside of you, and you make sacrifices, taking all the right steps, and be so very close to holding the dream in your hands, and then never seeing it. Or even being able to embrace it for too short a while, only to have it be taken from you, suddenly.

I know, our faith is sorely tested in this place.

And if we were face to face while you were telling me your story of disappointment, I know it would be different than my own, but also, somehow the same. I know the pressure around the heart that feels at any moment will crush it. I know the ache that seems to transcend the heart and go deeper into your spirit, feeling the heavy-weight of it in right there in your belly, just below the diaphragm. I know the difficulty of inhaling and exhaling each breath, if you even remember to breathe. And how the heaviness of it keeps you weighted, where it’s even hard to get out of bed, to put one foot in front of the other, to find hope in anything anymore, let alone — dare to dream! I also know what it’s like to have the Spirit of God breathe His Life into my soul and resuscitate a dying dream.

You might ask, “How do I dare to have hope? How do I risk dreaming again?” because you don’t know if you could survive the sting again, from the loss, the betrayal from the unrelenting disappointment.

I’ve dubiously wondered the same thing. It would almost seem better not to want it to begin with. And I’ve prayed before, “Lord take this desire from me, for the pain of not seeing it, or seeing it so close and not holding it is too much to bear.”

I know what that is like, friend. And even the Word knows.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” NASV

“Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick…” MSG

“Hope that is put off makes one sick at heart.” NIRV

Proverbs 13:12a

I am taking a bold step in sharing this with you, but it’s a true story. One day, while prostrate in body and in soul, my heart was completely broken, and I was in despair over the disappointment. The cry from my heart was a painful wailing, and with all my heart I wanted to trust God through it. But is was difficult to see beyond the grief. While face pressed to the ground, and anguish pressing in all around, I had a short dream-like vision. I saw Jesus sitting down. As I looked at Him, He looked at me. He did not say a word from His mouth, but when I looked, the love in His eyes did speak and say, “I know.”

In that moment, that was enough. And through the pain and the years and the waiting and the healing, He has been enough. Jesus knows pain, disappointment, betrayal, being tempted in every way, He is a high-priest that is able to feel for us in our weaknesses. And before this, my hope that was misplaced,  was now found in the One who knows my days before I lived any one of them. And even if I don’t know, His knowing is enough.

If you and I were sitting before each other, I would look at you and say, I know what it feels like. I know I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know why it happened this way. But I do know that His ways are higher. I do know the Lord declares,

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts.
And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.” Isaiah 55:8 NLT

He saw us before we were born.
Every day of our lives were recorded in His book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.” Psalm 139:16 NLT

And those moments He already laid out for us, we might have chosen different and even protested with Him about a few, but know this; nothing takes Him by surprise, and He is able to work it all together for good.

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
He’s the one who will keep you on track. Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG

Proverbs 13:12b continues, “but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” And Jesus came to give life.


Write It Out: Will you dare to have hope again? Will you dare to dream again? Will you be honest with God about why it’s hard, or why you are not ready, or why you feel you can’t?

Say it Loud:“We are pushed hard from all sides. But we are not beaten down. We are bewildered. But that doesn’t make us lose hope. Others make us suffer. But God does not desert us. We are knocked down. But we are not knocked out. We always carry around the death of Jesus in our bodies. In that way, the life of Jesus can be shown in our bodies. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 NIRV) For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:3-4 NTL) These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold…( 1 Peter 1:7 NTL) Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of His victory.” (1 Peter 1:7 MSG)