by Blake Cromwell
As Israel left Egypt and headed towards the Promised Land, God led them through the wilderness to teach them to trust Him. He used the wilderness as a training ground to improve the character of His people. In the wilderness, Israel lacked sufficient water, they missed the Egyptians cuisine and they resented their leader. Israel was constantly disappointed and they allowed their disappointments to control their destiny. We can learn a better way.
In life there are three common disappointments. If we can identify these areas early, then perhaps we won’t fall into the trap Israel did. First is disappointment with things. The toys our kids just had to have last Christmas are now stacked in the closet and the kids are on a quest for bigger and better stuff. Things are great, but they break and rust, and if we aren’t careful we will begin to be controlled emotionally by them. Things can enhance our lives but they can never totally satisfy.
Second is disappointment with events. Reservations are lost, jets delayed, hotel rooms are smaller than we expected and the kids are bored with the selection of TV stations. Most of us need a vacation after the vacation. We plan a date with the wife and the babysitter cancels at the last minute and leaves us at home disappointed. Events have a way of falling apart, and if we aren’t careful we become frustrated and bitter because “it just never works out.”
Third is disappointment with people. People let us down, they cop out, they don’t follow through and then they criticize us for not being more understanding. You loan out money or a lawn mower and never see it or the person again. People just have a way of falling short of our expectations. The trick is not to let our disappointment make us cynical, for then we will forever be caught in a vicious cycle.
These common disappointments test our reactions, our attitudes, our faith and our character. Like Israel whom God lead into the wilderness where they faced disappointments, we too face daily disappointment that test our character. The question is do we see God in the common disappointments of life or do we just become frustrated and anxious?
Israel’s response to a lack of water or a delay in the journey was to gripe, grumble and criticize. That kind of response is called immaturity. One minute Moses is their hero, the next minute he is a zero. Israel reminds me of children who quickly forget the labor and love of a parent. Did you know the average homemaker prepares 30,000 meals and makes 40,000 beds in a lifetime? Have you ever taken this for granted? I know I have.
Our life is not meant to be controlled by “things, events and people.” Life is a gift we have from God. In life, we make the choice to be happy or miserable. God gives us a free will to embrace what we will face today with either excitement or dread. What we do with things, events, and people is up to us. If we choose to make the best of them, we will begin to develop the character that God is looking for in each of us.
Today don’t be fooled by disappointments, rather look at them as opportunities to develop good character. All of life is a decision. What choice will you make today?