Like a good resistance band, it pushes back at us, putting on the pressure and testing our endurance. We can either succumb to its force or return the Push. We can give way to what disappointment naturally produces—discontentment and doubt—or we can let it grow us. We can let it stretch and strengthen our faith.
When Disappointment ComesI’ve felt disappointed lately. In a few realms, the resistance band has gone to work, exercising my faith in Jesus:
- When a situation is blurred in confusion (push), do I trust his perfect knowledge and wisdom (pull)?
- If an outcome isn’t what I’d hoped it would be (push), will I receive God’s will or get angry (pull)?
- If God takes away a good gift (push), do I demand an explanation, or submit to him what I may not understand (pull)?
So we deal with disappointment by starting there, with who God is. We allow it to exercise our trust in him, the unshakable rock who never changes, so that our faith is strengthened.
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10 Ways Disappointment Can Strengthen Your FaithPerhaps you’ve experienced disappointment in a fresh way lately, and you’re shocked by the tension it’s produced. Or maybe you’re exhausted because ongoing disappointment has exercised your faith to the limits, and you’re not sure you can return another push.
Brother, sister—disappointment can strengthen your faith if you let it. Here are 10 ways this can happen, as disappointment resists our faith in:
1. God’s goodnessWe push back with the reality that if God didn’t spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, won’t he graciously give us all things (Romans 8:32)?
2. God’s controlWe push back with the truth that he has declared the end from the beginning, that his counsel shall stand, that he will accomplish all his purposes (Isaiah 46:10).
3. God’s wisdomWe push back with the reality that although we can’t see beyond this moment, God has determined every moment according to his perfect purpose and will, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time (Ephesians 1:9-10).
4. God’s sufficiencyWe push back, trusting that those who seek the Lord lack no good thing (Psalm 34:10) and that our confidence is in him (2 Corinthians 3:4), not in our circumstances.
5. God’s workWe push back with the truth that he upholds the universe by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3), knows the number of hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30), and produces endurance, character, and hope in us through trials (Romans 5:3-5).
6. God’s loveWe push back with the proof that God’s love was shown in this, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8), that he is the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10), that he’s given us the Spirit of love (Romans 5:5).
7. God’s steadfastnessWe push back because we know how God is faithful, even when we are faithless (2 Timothy 2:13); how he never changes (James 1:17), even when our circumstances do; and how he never lies (Titus 1:2).
8. God’s justiceWe push back, knowing we deserve nothing, but have received everything in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1-2), and we trust he will make all things right in the end (Psalm 37:6).
9. God’s powerWe push back because if God hasn’t given us something, that doesn’t mean he can’t. We remember how God raised Jesus from the dead (Galatians 1:1), how that same power is at work in us and for us.
10. God’s presenceWe push back with God’s promise to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), sealed by the blood of Jesus, and we press on walking by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).
The Source of Your StrengthExercise isn’t easy. It makes us sweaty, tired, and sore. But the long-term gain makes exercise worth it because we know it’s making us stronger. As such, disappointment exercises our trust in God, and it can strengthen our faith in him when we resist it with his truth.
Here’s the wonderful news for the exhausted, the downhearted, the utterly disappointed: You’re not left to your own devices to resist disappointment’s push. You’re not left to your own strength. Christ has given you his Holy Spirit, and he wants to help your trust in him grow stronger. He’s the energy behind your exercise, the power behind your pull.
And he wants to strengthen your faith, if you will let him. The question is, will you?
About The Writer
Kristen Wetherell is a writer, Bible teacher, and the content manager of Unlocking the Bible. She is the author, along with Sarah Walton, of Hope When It Hurts: Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering (The Good Book Company, April 2017). She blogs at her website, and you can follow her on Twitter. She and her husband, Brad, are members of The Orchard in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Connect with Kristen at her website.