Sometimes people don’t listen to you like they should. Often things don’t work out like you want them to because somebody stood in your way or did not let you do what you thought was right. People at church are like people everywhere. We are prone to mistakes, misunderstandings, and overall self-interest and self-preservation when it comes to working with others.
Think about it. A drive to work in the mornings does not always work out smoothly. Somebody cuts you off, or gets too close to your bumper, or a clog in flow of traffic makes you late. At the grocery store people do not always do what you think they should. Sometimes even friends say things before thinking about what they say leaving hurt feelings that have to be mended.
Even well oiled and successful teams like the Georgia Bulldogs fail in their teamwork during championship games. They must fix what’s broken and practice like crazy to do better the next time. We all witnessed that happen between the SEC Championship loss to Alabama and the National Championship win to the same team this past Monday night. Think about the money spent on football in both states. Think about the leadership, the hours spent in preparation, the salaries paid, the players recruited, everything it takes to win a national championship on both teams, and still somebody loses. Think about the fans from each state who paid thousands to attend the game. Somebody gets disappointed even in the most televised, most important, most commercialized game of the year. Disappointment happens no matter the cost of the ticket.
In 1858, the Illinois state legislature, using an obscure statute, sent Stephen A. Douglas to the United States legislature rather than Abraham Lincoln, even though Lincoln had won the popular vote. When a friend asked Lincoln how he felt about it, he said, “Like the boy who stubbed his toe: I am too big to cry and too badly hurt to laugh.” We all feel that way in our disappointments.
My mom used to say, “If at first you don’t succeed, try—try again.” My grandkids say about disappointments, “Suck it up and move on.” The Bible says, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). That is amazing. God takes all our disappointments, our fears, and our flaws and perfects them into the work of His kingdom. I don’t know how He does that, but I am confident that He is in control and oversees the outcome.
Are there ruff places along the way?
Absolutely! But Jesus is able to take my flaws and my disappointments and transpose them into His perfect will and purpose. That keeps me going. That keeps me coming back again and again even when I’m disappointed. That keeps me expecting the best. That keeps me loving God’s people, and His church. God is greater than my disappointment.