“As he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.’ When he saw them he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, ‘Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Luke 17:12-18
Having such a poor show of those who would come thank Him could have knocked Jesus off His keel. Had he been out serving and healing and teaching to get a reaction, add up successes, or stroke His own ego, His disappointment could have swallowed His zeal and shaken Him off course. But Jesus was intent only on doing His Father’s will and finishing His work. (John 4:34)
A missed opportunity, a regretted argument, a cancellation or change of plans out of our control. Another poor review, another team loss, another ill-informed or short-sighted choice by one we love, another broken dream. Disappointments can add up to weigh down our spirits today and close off hope for a bright tomorrow. We make detailed plans, expend endless effort, teach the right way, and confide in our colleagues, and somehow think we have a right to the outcomes we want. But people and circumstances seldom meet our expectations, and claims for perfect results, perfect harmony, and the perfect family lead only to disappointment. There is only One who is perfect and faithful forever, who will never disappoint, and He is Jesus.
Leaving the outcomes of our strivings and hopes to Jesus frees us to move on to the next right thing, the next person or situation or problem that God puts in our path to attend. He orders the whole world and has glorious purposes beyond our imagining, often larger or longer-sighted than we would know to consider. When our eyes are on Jesus, and our endeavors according to His call, we can extend the offer, lovingly hold out the gospel, make ourselves available, but trust the results are His. We plant, we water, we spend, we serve, and it is the Lord who does the work of enlightenment, conviction, regeneration, and transformation. (Isaiah 55:8-9; John 16:8; 1 Corinthians 3:6-7)
Where do we find ourselves most disappointed? What does this reveal about our idols? Where have we distorted our loves so we care more about a person’s action or reaction, perhaps in relation to us, than about the Lord who is working all things for our overarching good and His glory? Have we a trace of pride in our best efforts, smugness in the example we set, or unjust desert from all our hard work, that we have hidden from the Lord’s sanctifying fire? (Romans 8:28)
Where do we need a reorientation of our hopes and expectations, and a smother of Christ’s strong grace to open that door of disappointment and walk through to contentment and trust?
Lord, I cast every disappointment on You, who carried them to the cross. In even the hardest of situations, help me rejoice in Your goodness and power to redeem. To You be all glory.