If we want to find solutions to the problem of disappointments, we will have to find answers that God provides and put aside the answers that are offered by man. We will have to look at what God is doing, and place ourselves on His side.
GOD ALLOWS DISAPPOINTMENTS
There is no disappointment that comes to anyone who is a child of the Lord which is not allowed or permitted by the Lord. The devil and all his agents may originate the events that lead to the disappointment, but the devil cannot touch anyone of God’s children without the expressed permission of God. The devil afflicted Job.
The Bible says, “Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house; and there came a messenger to Job, and said, ‘The oxen were ploughing and the asses feeding beside them; and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them, and slew the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you.’ While he was yet speaking, there came another, and said, ‘The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you.’ While he was yet speaking there came another, and said, ‘The Chaldeans formed three companies, and made a raid upon the camels and took them, and slew the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you.’ While he was yet speaking, there came another, and said, ‘Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house; and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness, and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you.’
Then Job arose, and rent his robe, and shaved his head, and fell upon the ground, and worshipped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return; the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’
In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong” (Job 1:13-22).
God permitted all this to happen to Job. The devil did it all, but he only acted because he had received permission from the Lord. The Bible says, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, ‘Whence have you come?’ Satan answered the Lord, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.’ And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?’ Then Satan answered the Lord, ‘Does Job fear God for naught? Hast thou not put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth thy hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse thee to thy face.’ And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power; only upon himself do not put forth your hand.’ So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord” (Job 1:6-12).
We see very clearly that God permitted Satan to do all that he did on Job. The Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only upon himself do not put forth your hand.” The Lord God, thus, permitted Satan to use all of his (Satan’s) power against all of Job’s property and children. The Lord also determined the limit within which Satan was authorized to attack. All Satan’s power was allowed to go against all else that was his. Satan did that. He attacked all that Job had mercilessly and he attacked it in one day. His destruction was complete, but Job’s body was not touched. In fact, regardless of how much Satan would have loved to attack Job’s body, he could not. He had no permission in that direction. All his angels, demons, princes, powers, and principalities with their total hatred for Job, could not touch Job at any point where the Lord gave Satan no permission. We see this illustrated further in the life of Job.
Job was steadfast after the loss of his property and children. He fell to the ground and he worshipped. He recognized that he came into the world naked and would return naked. He recognized that, although the devil was working, the devil was not final. He was not in the devil’s hand. He was not controlled by the devil. He recognized the fact that the Lord permitted it. He said, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Because he saw the hand of the Lord that permitted the devil to act, he blessed the Lord who permitted it. He did not sin or charge God with wrong.
TO WHOM DID GOD ALLOW DISAPPOINTMENT?
Job was not a man living actively in sin whom God used the devil to punish. On the contrary, the Bible says of him, “And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, ‘It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.’ Thus Job did continually” (Job 1:5). The Lord Himself testified twice of Job in the following words, “There is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil.”
Job also walked with God in the integrity of his heart. He spoke out of a clear conscience before the Lord and said, “I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I look upon a virgin? What would be my portion from God above, and my heritage from the Almighty on high?” (Job 31:1-2). He further said, “If my heart has been enticed to a woman, and I have lain in wait at my neighbour’s door; then let my wife grind for another, and let others bow down upon her” (Job 31:9-10). Job was pure in all aspects of the sexual life. Again he said, “If I have walked with falsehood, and my foot has hastened to deceit; (Let me be weighed in a just balance, and let God know my integrity!) if my step has turned aside from the way, and my heart has gone after my eyes, and if any spot has cleaved to my hands; then let me sow, and another eat; and let what grows for me be rooted out” (Job 31:5-8). Job was without falsehood and without greed. He also was just with his servants (Job 31:13). He gave to the poor (Job 31:16-23). He was without the love of money (Job 31:24-25). He loved his enemies (Job 31:29-32). He exposed his sin and had been delivered from the opinion of men (Job 31:33-35). Job was really an upright man. Yet he is the one whom God allowed Satan to inflict. Why was that so?
GOD’S USE OF DISAPPOINTMENT
The Lord had said of Job before his troubles began, ” ……. that there is none like him on earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil.” This was very recommendable. Job had made much progress in holiness. He was submissive to the will of God, but he was not completely perfect. He had not reached the highest standard of maturity. He knew God, but his knowledge of God had not yet reached the ultimate point. He said after his suffering, “I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees thee; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6). Through suffering he passed from the state of “hearing” of God to that of “seeing” God. He passed from the man who spoke freely about his righteousness in all domains of life to one who despised himself, repented and was humble.
The disappointment of Job, which was the work of Satan in the permissive will of God, became God’s appointment with Job to bring him to spiritual maturity. He became a man who did not accept the sovereign will of God by resignation, but one who accepted it joyfully, even after suffering, saying, “I know that thou canst do all things, and that no purpose of thine can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). God had purposed to bring Job to perfection. He had found in him a willing man who did not cling to what he had. In that union of a righteous man, who was not yet perfect, and a perfect God, the Lord used the instruments of suffering, affliction, etc, to produce a man after His own heart in every way.
Man’s disappointments are God’s appointments. The one who sees this divine truth will welcome every disappointment with joy, for it is God’s appointment. The Bible says, “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Do you see what the word of God is saying? Do you see what God is saying? That His disappointments are for your good – if you love Him and are called according to His purpose. This being true, there is only one thing that a believer needs to do. He needs to ensure that he loves the Lord and is called according to God’s purpose. When he is sure of that, he can be perfectly at rest; for all that comes to him will be used by God for his good. Disappointments may come, failures may come, enemies may come, doors may be closed, promotions may be hindered, rejections may come, difficulties may come, betrayals may come, persecutions may come, all kinds of situations may come. However, in each one of them and for all of them together, God will work for the good of that believer who loves Him and is called according to His purpose. The believer who loves the Lord and is called according to God’s purpose does not worry about who is planning what against him. He knows that nothing will happen to him that his loving heavenly Father has not permitted. He also knows that in all that the Lord will permit, He will also work for his good.
There is no possibility that Satan can bypass the Lord and get at the believer who loves the Lord and is called according to His purpose. There is no possibility that Satan can prevent the Lord from working in everything and in every situation for the good of the believer who loves the Lord and is called according to His purpose. The Bible says, “The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nought; he frustrates the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations” (Psalm 33:10-11).
The Lord will bring all the counsel of the nations to nought. He will frustrate all the plans of the devil and the plans of man which He cannot use to bless those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. His counsel, which includes the fact that He will work in all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, stands forevermore. His thoughts, which include that of working in everything for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose, stand forever.
Alec Brooks put it this way, “God does not cause everything to happen, but He rules over everything. His sovereignty is such that He is able to use whatever occurs. He weaves each event into His great purpose for us, no matter what anyone else may intend. When our trust is in God, everything is filtered through His love, and if we will trust Him, it will produce good. Satan is frustrated by the lives of those who trust God. Not only is he unable to harm them, but everything negative he does toward them becomes positive in their lives.”
Joseph was sold by his brothers. He suffered imprisonment in Egypt. He, later on, became the governor of Egypt under Pharaoh. He told his brethren who had maltreated him, “As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that1 many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50:20). His brothers meant him evil, but God meant good for him through this act of evil by his brothers. In the end, we see, not the evil intentions of his brothers prevailing, but the good that God intended. Yes, “The counsel of the Lord stands for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.” The Lord of hosts has sworn, “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand” (Isaiah 14:24).
So God will use your disappointment, regardless of what it is, for your good, provided you love Him and are called according to His purpose. Your disappointments are His appointments.
If you do not love Him and are not called according to His purpose, He wants to use your disappointments to bring you to love Him and be called according to His purpose. Could anything be better for you?