I hope I’m not alone in this, but I recently had to re-learn a lesson that I thought I learned years ago. It’s a lesson in dealing with disappointment and forgiveness, and a lesson in surrender and faith.
Disappointment is commonplace in life. Disappointment is what you feel when you don’t receive something that you hope for. You can be disappointed over something so trivial as not receiving a package that you hoped would arrive today. But the more difficult disappointments are the ones involving loved ones and if you belong to a family, you certainly have experienced this deeper disappointment to some degree. No one is perfect. Therefore, we will certainly disappoint others and others will certainly disappoint us. It was good for me to remember this, as I recently wrestled with the hurt of disappointment and the frustration of a particular repeated offense.
All in one interaction with this person, I experienced feelings of disappointment, hurt, insult and anger. After the incident, I knew I had to go to the Lord, but in self righteousness, I didn’t want to let go of my claim of injury by this person. So the anger remained, and I chose to let sin disrupt my abiding in Jesus. Reflecting upon that time now, I know that it was a spirit of rebellion that was ruling in me and I mourn over how long it took me to yield to the Holy Spirit. (Oh, but how long suffering is our Savior and how amazing His grace is for us!)
When I finally bowed my knee and asked for forgiveness over my unrepenting heart, my God reminded me of a lesson that I had learned over a decade ago. It was a lesson on how to process disappointment and hurt with the Lord. First, I always have to forgive the offense, because the Lord always forgives my offenses. I must release all claim on it and give it to the Lord to deal with. Secondly, I need to let God’s love be a healing balm on my injured heart. God’s constant, pursuing love saved me when I was still His enemy. His love is the greatest gift I have ever received and because of it, I can hope and persevere. Thirdly, I have to let the Lord’s love for the other person infiltrate my heart. Do I choose to love this person as they are right now, unconditionally? My duty before the Lord is to love, especially to love sacrificially like my Savior did for me. Lastly, I have to surrender the circumstances to the Lord. I have to relinquish my plans, schemes, and anything I would design, and believe that it will be God who will work the transformation in the other person’s heart. I have to choose to lean fully upon the Lord’s love for this other person by praying and petitioning for them. I have to ask God for a Christ sanctified relationship with this person that only the Lord can bring about.
When I first learned this lesson so many years ago, one of the biggest takeaways was the realization that it is God’s will to transform me, just as much, if not more, as it is His will to work in the other person. And today, this might be the biggest lesson for me again. Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever. (Ps 118:1) More praise to my Savior Jesus as I receive more grace from Him!
Gloria Huang has been a member of GRC since 2013. She is a deaconess and is part of the Women’s Ministry leadership team.