Disappointment may be the most serious problem we face as Christians, apart from sin. Through afflictions, hardships, personal failures, accidents, betrayal, unmet expectations and many other apparent negative experiences, we can lose sight of God’s purposes and plan. When we don’t see how the Lord weaves all of our experiences into His purpose in our life, we respond in disappointment. Disappointment leads to self-pity, disillusionment, depression, or even withdrawal from fellowship.
What is the Lord’s purpose in our lives through all of these disappointments? His purpose is to reproduce His character in us, for us to empty ourselves of our spirit and take in His spirit, fully. The word affliction in the Greek means to apply pressure, to rub together or “hem someone in.” In other words, to be so confined that we have no other options but Jesus. “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:17-18, NAS).
His plan is pressure. The dictionary definition of affliction is anything that causes pain or distress. All of these forms of afflictions, hardships, loss, illness, accidents and others, put great pressure on us. They thrust us into Jesus or we can choose to respond with disappointment. David said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word” (Psalms 119:67, NIV).
The Lord gave thanks in all things. He gave thanks when there was not enough. He knew the character and spirit of God; that His Father was always at work. That is our destination, to come to a place where we can give thanks in everything because we trust our Lord. Whether it is illness, hardship, or any distress, we know our Lord will weave it into His purpose for our life. “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen” (Romans 11:36, NIV).