By Karen Polich
The holiday season is like a magnifying glass to disappointment and struggle. It starts before Thanksgiving and builds into Christmas. Challenges that may have been before us all year long become intensified. Deep loss and the grief that follows shakes us to our core. While we may be prepared for a setback here and there, the long-term disappointments that linger for months and years often knock us off our feet.
Pastor Michael M. Cook examined a part of the Christmas story that shows us what it is like to live in disappointment while remaining deeply faithful to God. Listen to the podcast here. Zechariah and Elizabeth spent most of their lives not expecting a child. Yet, their hearts desired to be parents. To add insult to injury, in their culture, it would be seen as disgraceful to not have a child. They were deeply faithful but deeply disappointed. Read Luke 1:5-25.
Zechariah was fulfilling his duties as a priest when the angel came to him. He was a disappointed man lighting incense for a disappointed people. His story of disappointment mirrored the story of God’s people. They had been waiting a long time for God to fulfill His promise of a Messiah. Zechariah and Elizabeth were intertwined with Joseph and Mary. Their story is part of the Christmas story and the story of God’s redemptive plan.
One of the magnificent marks of maturity is the ability to move forward in your faith in disappointing seasons of life. – Michael M. Cook
God is present. He is there in the times of joy and He is there in the disappointment and struggle. Are you swimming in grief? God is right there with you. Can’t see beyond the darkness? God is with you. Stuck where you don’t want to be? God is there.
What do we need to keep faith through disappointment? Time and trust. Time can allow us to see things from a different perspective. While God may or may not reveal the answer to our “Why?”, He will help us see Him more clearly and will build our character through the agony and pain. Disappointment doesn’t mean ultimate defeat. Often we think God has checked out of the situation, but in truth, we have checked out. Trust is the key.
The rare capacity of trusting God while in the midst of struggle is crucial.
When we are in a place we don’t want to be in, we have a choice to trust Him, or turn from Him. When we choose to trust with faith, we are staying in the fray and letting God do His work.
Remain steadfast. God is at work.