There is the story in the bible about a man named David. This man was through a series of events, selected in a relatively private ceremony by the top leader in the country, to become the next king. That’s not a great position to be in if there is another king currently on the throne but because he was in an obscure village, he was relatively safe from the kings hit men. I’m sure that went down like a lead balloon in his family as well, since he was the youngest and in his culture the oldest son held the top position in everything.
So the next day, David went back to his day job. I’m not sure how long he worked on his dads farm but he had to keep looking after the sheep – king or no king – because that was his job in the family and since he was the youngest and the job meant he would smell like sheep every day, no one else was going to do that job! I think, however, he would have gone to work with hope and expectation in his heart because of what had happened. Every day he would have been wondering if today was the day.
But Nothing Happened
But, nothing happened for months or maybe even years (we really don’t know the timeline). Eventually he got a job as a musician in the current kings palace. I’m sure he would have thought “at last in on my way”. Next, David and the kings son became best friends. Then things began to change – for the worse. While the current king appreciated his musical ability, he seems to have had a mental illness and in one of his moods he suddenly there something at David trying to kill him. These random attacks continued for a while. So David eventually had to run away and go into hiding in the wilderness.
David had a long time to find himself in the wilderness. He was there for seven years. Of course for you and me who are past a certain age, seven years seems a short time – especially when you look back. But the reality is it can feel like a very long time if you are disappointed and waiting for something significant to happen.
My Rich Uncle
Many years ago my wife and I went to visit my rich uncle in the UK. He had no biological children and promised “to look after” us in his will. In due course, I got a message from the family that he had passed away and assumed any day I’d get a call from the solicitor in the UK to inform me of my inheritance. It didn’t come the first month nor the first year. I started telling myself “these things take a long time.” After a year or so, I began to suspect he might have forgotten his promise to me. After two years, I was sure he had. After five years, I never expected anything to come. After seven years it was as if he never made any promise. (Nothing has ever arrived!)
So after a few years in the desert, I suspect David may have been tempted to give up on the possibility of ever becoming king. His life had started out with such promise. But I’m sure there were many long nights as David asked “where are you God in all of this – You’ve not delivered on your promise and here I am living in caves with a group of misfits just struggling to survive.” And although there were some great victories in his life to that point, his life seemed like an endless escape from one place to another to make sure the king never caught him. I’m sure he lost hope in the face of unrelenting disappointment.
David’s Not The Only One
I know Davids story is just one of many I could have written about. He was not the first in history nor the last, by a long way, to suffer unrelenting disappointment and the loss of hope. Maybe you have your own story about that too. It seems to me, when I have been in that position, that the disappointment is overwhelming. It is as if it controls your thinking and takes over your whole life.
The truth is, human beings cannot survive very long without hope. Hope is how we live. Hope is what gets us from 1 day to the next. When you go to school, you hope one day you’ll graduate. When you graduate; you hope you’ll get a job. If you’re single, you hope you’ll meet the right person and get married. Then you get married, and hope you’ll have kids, some day. Then you get kids into the house, and you hope one day they’ll leave. Then you retire and hope for a long happy retirement but it doesn’t always turn out that way. There is sometimes an unrelenting purposeless daily grind in retirement. We need hope. And when hope is gone, endurance and joy and energy and courage, just evaporate.
Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.”
Finding Hope Despite Disappointment.
So how do you find hope again in the face of unrelenting disappointment? Is it possible to find the way forward when the walls have come tumbling down? I think it is. I think its possible to find a way forwarded restoration of your hope. Unfortunately, I’m are not talking about hoping whatever wish you happen to make will come true. That’s just wishful thinking and we need something a bit more certain to put our hope in. I think it’s possible to find new hope if you put your hope in doing what God planned for you a long time before you were born. You see, He knew you would be born and He had a plan for you and your life. He is not surprised you are retired and the truth is if your heart is still beating you haven’t completed all that He has for you to do. So the first thing you must do is to find His plan for your life and begin to do it. It may be to simply find someone to help and do that. It may mean finding some young person to mentor and begin that relationship. There is something you can do if you look around.
It May Not End Dissapointment
Unfortunately, that may not be the end of disappointment. After all David was selected for his new role by the top man. He had a few opportunities to discover he was on the right track and so I imagine by the time he ran into the desert, he would have known he was on the track God had set out for his life. Yet he still faced disappointment. But he faced it from a position of certainty knowing Gods plan would come about and he would be made king eventually. In the meanwhile he had to practice patience. He had to learn humility and he had to control his anger when he got the chance to kill the king on day in a dark, deep cave. David eventually became a better king because he learned the hard lessons in the desert.
So don’t waste your time when you are frustrated or disappointed. If you are on the path God has planned for your life, just be content with wherever you are knowing His promises WILL come about in due course. God still has a plan for your life, it may just be that his plan is to change you into a better man before that happens and when it does, you will be better because of your current situation.