By Marissa Mitev
For the last few years, I’ve been journeying with the Father into how to process disappointment and how He sees it. Disappointment is something familiar to us all, yet each time it can feel so fresh and catch us off guard with its sharp pain.
I’m learning that I can either respond with doubts and anxiety or renewed resolve to believe God for His promises. And to be honest, for me it is usually a mix of both. But each time, I let His goodness and trustworthiness sink deeper into my heart.
I have dealt with a chronic illness for about 7 years, and the journey of pursuing my healing brought
with it many experiences of severe disappointment. And while I have now received so much of the physical healing I cried out for (PRAISE!!!) this journey has taught me greatly about how to process disappointments in the future. How good is God that what He graciously speaks to us during painful seasons endures to bless us immensely throughout our lives! Here is a bit of what God has shown me:
The questions of “Why does this keep happening? Is there something I’ve messed up? What if God doesn’t actually ever provide for me here?” often bring me to a place where I take back the reigns and grasp for control to try to help myself believe that if I just do X and Y I won’t have to be disappointed again. I.e. If I just accept it how it is and stop thinking things will change, I won’t have to feel the pain of disappointment; except I now see that, this choice of discouragement abandons the faith I was born for.
I’ve heard Melissa Helser say, “the problem isn’t being disappointed, the problem is staying disappointed”. See, as children of God, we were made to look disappointment in the face and declare: My God remains good, His promises for me are true, He does not withhold from me, and He never leaves me without.
God has been showing me that part of processing disappointment is letting God meet us in our pain with healing, comfort, and fresh faith. Our disappointment matters to God, A LOT. And it is necessary that we let ourselves believe it matters to Him! Just because He sees the end of the story and He knows it ends in victory, does not mean He is apathetic to our pain or impatient with our process.
I recently heard a story about a boy who was incredibly excited to go to school for pajama day. He had picked out his pajamas, his slippers, the whole thing. He wore it the evening before and to bed, and was so excited to go to school the next day in his pajamas. The thing was, on pajama day he woke up with pink eye and couldn’t go. Understandably, he was crushed.
His mom wrote about this on Instagram and shared that the pain of disappointment is her least favourite thing to walk through with her children. And what hit me when I read that was, wow, if this mom doesn’t like walking through disappointment with her children, because her heart hurts deeply when her children are hurting, how much more must our good Father feel the pain of our disappointment.
Think about this: the boy’s mom knew many beautiful things coming very soon in his future. She knew about the Christmas presents he’d be unwrapping soon, the cookies he’d enjoy, the games he’d play, and the joys he would experience very soon. But that did not mean that his disappointment was meaningless or unimportant to her. Yes, she would help her son to see that there would be many days ahead to look forward to with hope and expectancy. But that does not mean she would neglect his need for comfort or the reality of his deep sadness.
I know that this example is not as deep as the disappointments that we can face, and you personally may have faced deeply painful things that can hardly compare. But I feel the example shows God’s heart for us in disappointment.
When we are disappointed, no single time is insignificant to Him. He doesn’t impatiently wait for us to look at all the good that happened in the past or the good He will bring us in the future. He doesn’t shake His head as we feel the pain, as though we are ungrateful for all He’s given. Nope. He meets us right there. He lets us grieve the loss of what we thought would be. And then He meets us again to remind us that His promises remain true and real for our lives.
God reminds us that He is faithful, and He will never leave us nor forsake us. It is out of that reminder that we can see with grateful hearts all He has done and believe again with hope for the future. It is when we believe He is actually a good Father, never desiring us to be disappointed, but always willing to restore hope, that we can dream again with Him.
I read a quote recently, “We’re scared to dream because we’re scared to be disappointed. Learn to deal with disappointment and you will increase your capacity to dream”- Ally Fallon.
If we know we can conquer disappointment, then we won’t be held back from dreaming. We dream when we believe with hope for the future. Fear tells us that it is not worth it because we could be disappointed again. Fear tells us to make a large safety net and a secure plan B in order to avoid the risk of a painful disappointment. Fear tells us not to tell others when we are hopeful about something because then we won’t have to tell others if it doesn’t work out.
Faith tells us, keep dreaming, because though disappointment may come, you will arise out of it stronger and with greater hope for the promises God has spoken. Faith lets us dream because we know that God only has our best in mind. Faith invites us to dream because the fear of disappointment disappears in light of the Father’s great kindness and compassion. Faith lets us share our hopes and dreams with those who love us because we know they will be there to celebrate its fulfillment or help us through a painful loss. We know that even if we face a crushing disappointment, God will bring us through it to a greater glory. Faith invites us to persevere and believe that steadfast hope will win.
So let’s be dreamers. Let’s surrender each one of our dreams to the Father and let Him breathe His life into them. Let’s let Him revive dreams that have been swallowed up by disappointment. Let’s be confident sons and daughters who get to dream big dreams because we have a God who has freed us from fear.
 I whole-heartedly recommend you listen to Melissa Helser’s podcast episode “Engaging Hope in Seasons of Disappointment”. This changed my life.