Have you ever been disappointed? To be disappointed means to be depressed or discouraged by the failure of one’s hopes or expectations. Have you ever been disappointed? I’ll confess and say that I have. At times in life, I’ve seen my expectations fail to become reality.
Have people ever disappointed you? Have circumstances ever disappointed you? Has a job, a purchase, or a place ever disappointed you? Speaking from a fleshly carnal standpoint—maybe you’d never admit this publicly—but in the privacy of your own thoughts, you would answer yes to this question. Has God ever disappointed you? We sing songs like “Only trust Him,” but sometimes we don’t. We sing that we’re leaning on His everlasting arms all the while questioning where those arms are leading us. Have you ever been disappointed?
If you live long in this world, you’ll experience disappointment. Man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward. Sometimes our plans fall through, our dreams fail to become reality, our wants are more like wishes, and the life that we set out to build is susceptible to falling to the ground. I’ve heard the quote that “the best of men are men at best,” and we can likewise say that “the best of man’s plans are still the plans of man at best.”
We can’t see much past our noses, but we’re prone to plan out life as we think it ought to be; and often life will simply disappoint us. To put it plainly, sometimes things just don’t go the way we purpose them to go—things don’t happen like we planned them to happen.
At times we sit in the ashes like Job and declare that this isn’t how it was supposed to happen. We find ourselves regretting bad decisions like David and saying, “This is not how it was supposed to happen.” We often feel like failures just as Peter did, and in those moments we think this is not how it was supposed to happen.
We didn’t plan that untimely death. We didn’t plan that job loss. We didn’t plan that health problem. We didn’t plan that tragedy or that turmoil. We don’t plan medicine boxes or handicap tags or past due notices. We don’t plan heartache or hurt or disappointment. We plan delivery rooms, but not nursing homes. We plan inflation, but not depression. We plan mountains, but not valleys. We plan sunshine, but we don’t plan shadows, like the painter who always painted landscapes with clear blue skies because he didn’t like clouds.
Our scripts are always tales of triumph. We don’t write tragedies. We don’t plan sudden change. We don’t plan discomfort. We don’t plan instability. We like to quote Romans 8:28 with the slant of private interpretation and make it out to say that all things will both be good and work out for good. And when the shadows interrupt our sunshine or the storm intrudes upon our calm, we are quick to be shocked and even sideways with our circumstances and even with our God Who controls the circumstances of life. Have you ever caught yourself saying, “But, that’s not the way it was supposed to be!” “That’s not how it was supposed to go!” “That’s not how it was supposed to happen!”? When God answers our prayers in a way unlike the way that we asked Him to, we’re quick to complain that God doesn’t answer prayer at all. God is supposed to answer my prayer my way in my timeframe. When our lost loved one doesn’t get saved, we doubt God’s care and interest in saving sinners. God is supposed to save the sinner that I most want to be saved. When the rocky stretch of our pathway arrives, we wonder if God is really in the step-ordering business. God is supposed to direct my path down the path I want to travel down. When the supply is low, and God doesn’t send the reinforcement, we question if “all” means all in Philippians 4:19. And though I wish this wasn’t true, all of us at times find ourselves frustrated and disappointed with God as our hopes and our expectations fail because our hopes and expectations don’t match up with God’s will and God’s expectations for us.
After Jacob’s burial, Joseph’s brethren predicted that their brother whom they had so mistreated would seek retribution against them. Let me assume here that possibly if this had been an earlier version of Joseph, he would have. Put Joseph in this position right after the pit or the lies or the prison, and maybe he would have responded differently. But this is Joseph seasoned by what Providence had put him through. Notice his response in our text verse:
“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”
This verse reveals to us much about God. It shows us that our God is personal; He’s passionate; He’s purposeful, but it also reveals to us much about Joseph. Joseph is standing on the far end of his disappointments. He’s looking back on what at one time he was unable to see his way through. He has gained the luxury of hindsight and the wisdom of waiting upon the Lord, and Joseph provides us with such a valuable principle for life. In plain language, Joseph teaches us this principle: sometimes things don’t go, how you think they should; but they always go as God means for it to. Every time we hastily shout, “That’s not how it was supposed to happen,” a voice could respond from heaven’s throne,
“That’s exactly how it was supposed to happen!”
1. Victory is Found in Faith
1 John 5:4, “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” Victory is what the world wants and what the Christian is promised. Victory isn’t caught in many steams, but one. It’s not mined out of many mines, but one. It’s not drawn from many wells, but one!
Faith is the only garden that grows victory. Faith is the only suitable soil and the only germination seed. If we are to experience daily victory, then we must have daily faith in God. Faith is simply depending upon God, nothing more, just relying upon God.
Positional faith saved me. God gifted you and me who are saved with faith. We’re saved by grace through faith, and we can say that the faith of Christ is the faith of those of us who are Christians, but it takes daily, practical, living faith to keep us from drowning in disappointment and living on the victory side of life. In every facet of life, have faith in God.
There can be victory in slander with faith. There can be victory in slavery with faith. There can be victory in solicitation to sin with faith. There can be victory in the sting of hurt and sorrows of circumstances with faith. The hymn has it right, “Faith is the victory; faith is the victory! Oh, glorious victory that overcomes the world!” If you find yourself disappointed today, then let me challenge you to have faith in God! Faith is the victory eternally. It is the only way to victory daily.
2. Faith is trusting and depending upon God—not understanding, agreeing, enjoying at all times—but trusting in God’s plan.
Faith gives us rest and peace because faith is not in trying to manipulate God into doing our will or conforming to our plan. Faith conforms us to God’s plan and God’s will.
Faith marches around Jericho without need of swinging a sword. Faith sleeps in the ship while the storm rages. Faith stares down a giant with a sling and stone. Faith declares that the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away and blesses His name!
Faith maintains its integrity in the pit and in Potiphar’s house and in the Egyptian prison. Faith forgives its abusers and is at peace with God’s perfect plan. Faith blesses those who curse and understands that God works all things together for good. Faith gives rest. Faith is our victory.
3. Faith is trusting God with what will be understood at the finish line but is not understood at the starting line.
Consider the lines in these two hymns: We’ll understand it better by and by,” and “Farther along we’ll know all about it.” If we’ll just be still and know that He is God and that God is good, we can find solace and compensation in every disappointment in life.
I’m not as smart as God, and you’re not either. We might not always think that God is right, but we can be sure that God is always right. In fact, we could say that faith is believing that God is right, even when we disagree with what God is doing.
Joseph dreamed, but his dream didn’t include the pit or the prison or Potiphar or the pain of betrayal. But Joseph saw his dream become reality because he believed the God Who planned to exalt him in the eventual could also escort him safely through the immediate.
Faith gives victory when we allow faith to give us the understanding that disappointments to us are still divine appointments with God. God is not taken by surprise or caught off guard. Man proposes, God disposes! God knows the end from the beginning. He has readied the port on the other side of the storm before our ship has ever left the harbor on this side! Faith is not sight. Faith sees what sight cannot see and rests in what cannot fail.
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Since 2006, Pastor Cooper has served as an evangelist and as a pastor, traveling across the nation holding revival meetings and preaching in Bible conferences. Pastor Cooper moved to join our staff in 2019 and is building the Tabernacle Bible Class. He and his wife, Desarae, are an incredible blessing to both the college and church families. Pastor and Mrs. Cooper have one son, Lincoln.