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Disappointment, His Appointment

On Responding to Disappointment

My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.

Psalm 119:71 NLT

Our daily choice: react or respond to life’s unexpected setbacks and mind-boggling disappointments (Heb. 12:14-15). Reacting is being angry at our circumstances, frustrated with people, and despondent at not getting our way (James 1:20).

Responding sees the bigger picture: God has an appointment in our disappointment. It is not God’s will that people sin, but when God allows their sin to touch our lives, then their actions have become God’s will for us (2 Cor. 4:7-12). To grow deeper in our relationship with the Lord, we must have a yielded heart: a willingness to allow God to use our trials and tribulations to produce the life of Christ in us (Phil 1:293:10). In order to grow spiritually, we trust God’s sovereign purposes. He is using selfish people, hard places, and broken things to give us our heart’s desire: genuine Christlikeness (Rom. 8:17).

Responding believes that our Heavenly Father has a divine appointment in the midst of our various trials and setbacks. It trusts God’s goodness knowing that God’s sovereign hand is operating in and through the baffling and trying times of life.

We may not understand “why,” but we choose to trust our Heavenly Father who is good, loving, and gracious. We believe that the Father has our best in mind and is not rejecting us by allowing various difficulties in our lives (Heb. 12:7-12).

Responding comes forth from a thankful heart drawing us into the Holy Spirit’s wellspring of grace (Heb. 12:14-15). Responding says “yes” to God and looks for opportunities to grow in our intimate love relationship with Christ. In short, responding is confident that God has an appointment in our disappointment.

 

Disappointment, His Appointment

 

Disappointment-His appointment, change one letter

Then I see, that the thwarting of my purpose is God’s better choice for me.

His appointment must be blessing, though it may come in disguise.

For the end from the beginning, open to his wisdom lies.

 

Disappointment-His appointment, whose?

The Lord’s who loves me best,

Understands and knows me fully, Who my faith and love would test.

For like loving, earthly parent,

He rejoices when He knows,

That his child accepts unquestioned all that from His wisdom flows.

 

Disappointment-His appointment,

No good thing will He withhold, from denials oft we gather,

Treasures of His love untold,

Well He knows each broken purpose leads to fuller deeper trust,

And the end of all His dealings, proves our God is wise and just.

 

Disappointment-His appointment,

Lord, I take it then as such,

Like the clay in hands of potter yielding wholly to Thy touch.

All my life’s plan is Thy molding, not one single choice be mine,

Let me answer unrepining Father not my will but THINE.

Lyrics: Anonymous

Made popular by Phil Keaggy

Album: “Love Broke Thru”


Enclosed in God

God in and Through Our Circumstances

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Gen. 50:20 NIV

We live in the midst of the fallout of the fall: sin has affected every area of creation and all aspects of our lives. Disappointment, pain, and trouble are significant ingredients of our daily lives. Ill-timed, unexpected tragedies can shape our lives for the better or make our hearts hard through bitterness. Our choice: trust that God is sovereignly working or become angry that life is not going our way.

The Bible teaches that is not God’s will that people sin. However, when people sin against us, their actions become God’s will for us. Because of the Cross of Christ, we can trust that God has something bigger and better planned through our being ill-treated, misunderstood, hurt, and disappointed.

The Lord is working his purposes in and through our circumstances: the molding of our character, the testing of our faith, and the ministry of Christ’s life. Through trials, the Lord is giving us our heart’s desire: Christlikeness. “And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering” (Romans 8:17 NLT).

Now it seems to me as if you and I are enclosed in God. An arrow comes from the enemy’s bow. A man hates me writes an anonymous letter. Someone defrauds me. Some woman sets an unkind story afloat about me. The evil travels toward me. If God liked, He could let the arrow pass this way or that. But if my God opens and permits the evil to pass through His encompassing power to my heart, by the time it has passed through God to me, it has become God’s will for me. He permits it, and that is His will for my life. I do not say that the man will escape his just doom. God will deal with him. I am not going to worry myself about him.

In early days, I have taken infinite pains to avert the evil that men wished to do me, or perhaps to repay them, or to show that the evil was perfectly unwarranted. I confess that I have ceased to worry about it. If you silence one man you will start twenty more. It is ever so much better for peace of mind to accept the will of God, to accept His permission and His appointment, to look up into His face, and say, ‘Even so, Father.’

F. B. Meyer, The Christ-Life for Your Life (Chicago: Moody Press, no date), 121.

Slay me

Trusting God Even When Heart and Body Suffer

Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.

Job 13:15 NIV

Faith sees our circumstances from God’s perspective, believes what God says about that circumstance, and obeys all that God is commanding for us to do in that situation. Faith is a gift from God and a choice of our hearts enabling us to believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are faithful, sufficient, and present for every life circumstance. Faith’s result is the peace that passes all understanding and a heart content in God’s sovereign grace. Maintaining faith is a battle of the heart: it is a spiritual challenge to stay fixed on the goodness and faithfulness of God in the midst of turmoil and bodily affliction.

We should inquire once again as to what the life of faith is. It is one lived by believing in God under any circumstance: “If he slay me,” says Job, “yet would I trust in Him.” That is faith. Because I once believed, loved and trusted God I shall believe, love and trust Him wherever He may put me and however my heart and body may suffer . . . Emotion begins to doubt when it senses blackness, whereas faith holds on to God even in the face of death . . . God asks for men (and women) who are totally broken and who will follow Him even to death to work for Him . . . .

Watchman Nee, The Spiritual Man

“Sufferings Yielded to You”

Ineradicable Faith

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Rev. 7:13-14 (ESV)

How can I find the words to praise you, most courageous brethren? How can I compose a speech worthy of the strength of your heart and your perseverance in faith? You endured questioning by the cruellest tortures right through to the glorious end. You did not yield to suffering, but the sufferings yielded to you. The tortures did not bring the end of your torment, but the crown of martyrdom did. The intensification of the tortures went on and on, not to break down the steadfast faith but to send the men of God the sooner to their Lord.

The crowds who were present wondered as they saw the heavenly battle of God, Christ’s spiritual battle, as they saw his servants standing with free voices and undamaged minds, strong with divine strength. They were deprived, it is true, of the weapons of this world, but they were armed with the arms of faith. Tortured they stood, yet stronger than their torturers. Their limbs, beaten and torn as they were, still defeated the instruments that had beaten and torn them.

The cruellest beatings, repeatedly administered, could not overcome their ineradicable faith, even when their very entrails were torn open and at length the servants of God had no limbs left to be beaten, but only wounds. Blood was flowing that might quench the flames of persecution, that might subdue the fires of Gehenna itself. What a spectacle that was for the Lord – how sublime, how great, how acceptable to the eyes of God because it showed the allegiance and devotion of his soldiers! As the Psalms say, when the Holy Spirit speaks to us and warns us: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful (Psalm 116:15). Precious is the death that has bought immortality at the cost of its blood and received the crown of God as the consummation of its virtues!

How Christ rejoiced! How willingly he fought and conquered in such servants, protecting their faith and giving to the believers all that they needed! He was present at his own battle, he lifted up his champions, the proclaimers of his name, he gave them strength and new spirit. And he who once conquered death for us still and always conquers it within us.

O happy Church of ours, lit up by the honour of God’s kindness, now purified by the blood of our glorious martyrs! Once she shone white through the works of the brethren; now she has become purple with the blood of the martyrs. Among her flowers there bloom both white lilies and red roses.

Now let each of us strive for the highest of one of these honours. Let each of us be crowned either with the white crown of labours or the purple crown of suffering.

St. Cyprian of Carthage, Epistle 10:2-3,5.