A lot of news articles, a lot of briefings, a lot of fear, and, more than we realize, a lot of–I’m going to say it–disappointment has flooded our minds over the last few weeks.
The Lord took me on a journey a few nights ago and I want to share it with you today.
It all started when I checked for flight flights to California and found a round-trip ticket for less than sixty dollars last week. My heart started pounding. For those of you who don’t know, in California there’s a wonderfully beautiful woman named Natalie. I’m engaged to marry her this fall. I haven’t seen her in two and a half months and the thought of passing up such an amazing chance to see her made me wince. I bought the ticket. Suddenly this whole virus seemed like an excellent turn of events for me!
Unfortunately a few days later, crazy times got crazier. California went in sheltering, Gov. Tom Wolfe shut a bunch of jobs down here, and suddenly the global pandemic turned it’s pathetic head towards me and my romantic idealism. I kept tapping my feet and crossing my fingers (praying) that somehow I would still be able to see my sweetheart. Unless it was impossible for me to go, it was going to be difficult to say no to checking into to my Spirit Airlines flight. And then…
A “we regret to inform you that your flight has been cancelled” email showed up in my inbox. I wasn’t exactly surprised but I wasn’t expecting it either. I like to hope for the best and plan for the best. That’s just my way of seeing life. It’s generally a pretty darn good way to live! It does mean that I have keep my eye out for Joy’s little, but real, nemesis, disappointment. At first, I didn’t see this or feel this at all. I sent a screen shot to Natalie and told her that God must have a really REALLY good reason for me to be home and that I was glad that it was now not only inadvisable but also impossible for me to travel to see her. She agreed and we chose to praise the Lord in advance for what he was about to do.
And then, just a few days ago, I had an incredibly raw encounter with the Lord. But before I share it, I want you to know that I’m telling my little ‘sad’ story for a very big reason. It’s no secret that a lot more than flights got cancelled last week and this week. Plans have been pretty flip-floppy all around. When we have an expectation for a positive experience and it doesn’t happen, we feel disappointed. I’m pretty sure 99.9% of you can relate to this, whether it be directly related to the Corona Virus pandemic or not. And because of that, I believe what the Lord showed me is really important for all of you.
I encountered the Lord during my last Night Watch set at Gateway House of Prayer before we had to temporarily close our doors. I man the 12:00am-4:00am slot on Monday mornings by myself. Well, by myself as in without other humans; Jesus always wrecks me and let’s me know that he’s with me. Well, I approached the Lord about halfway through the night and began pouring out my heart. All I could really put words to was a burning desire to love him more. I felt as if my flame was smaller than usual. As I asked him to break my heart open and help me really love him well, he started showing me that the root of what I was feeling was actually just good ole’ disappointment. Here’s what he showed me:
Disappointment itself is a natural emotion. However, after the initial feeling, letting it begin to define your attitude towards life or even God is toxic.
The first sign of this is when you begin to question the integrity or character of those that have influenced the change of plans. Sometimes that person can be yourself through an accidental mistake, your family, your authorities, and sometimes even God. What started as natural disappointment beings to tell you that those you trusted weren’t in fact trustworthy. As your trust begins to erode, your love begins to die.
Obviously, I’m referring to an unchecked cycle. God is so gracious and he can stop us in our tracks like he did to me during the night watch set I’ve been talking about. He made it clear to me that I need to simply shake off the feelings of disappointment and cling to the truth that he is truly working all things together! When you don’t see it, you have to tap into faith. The Bible say that faith is the victory that overcomes the world. Why? Because if you have faith to believe that God is good, God is all-powerful, and God loves you, you won’t have any room in your heart for disappointment to camp out in!
What if we, as those who have tasted and seen that God is good, refused to let disappointment ruin our life or our week or even our day?
Of course, it will confront us whenever we are surprised by something not going according to plan, but does it have to sit in our heart and make us feel heavy for more than a moment? Do we have to let it open the door for all of it’s bigger and badder friends like doubt, distrust, and despair? I don’t think so. And the Apostle James didn’t think so either.
James 1:2-4 in the Passion Translation says this: “My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties, see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can! For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things. And then as your endurance grows even stronger, it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.”
“Nothing missing and nothing lacking” is crazy awesome! It’s not disappointing at all. Let’s make a choice to refuse the subtle lies that disappointment is okay to hang out with. A virus, a flight cancellation, or a postponed event won’t stand a chance if you keep your eyes and ears open to finding out what God is doing in the midst of it. What do you think? Will you identify any places in your heart that disappointment has be around for too long? Will you choose to kick that squatter out and ask the Lord to let you experience the “greatest joy” ever?
I want to for the rest of my life!
Written by Tim Ornelas. I’m a life-long son to my heavenly Father and my earthly family. I love to share my process with you so that you will feel empowered and encouraged to do the same. I enjoy reading, writing, preaching, and praying for the sick both in the church and on the streets. My greatest desire is for Jesus to become known by every soul. You can stay connected using the following platforms.
Good word man! I can honestly relate to the disappointment during this time with almost everything being uprooted in my life recently. I choose to look at what the Lord is doing during this time!
So good Bradley! All eyes on him!