So many things in life have the capacity to disappoint us. I am daily disappointed by the weather, the sports teams for whom I cheer, the prices at the mall and the stock market. If you allowed yourself to do so, you could spend a large portion of every day of your life dealing with the disappointment that someone or something has thrown your way.
"Not only so, but we also boast in tribulation, knowing that tribulation produces patience, patience produces character, and character produces hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Rom. 5:3-5).
The apostle Paul, the writer of the book of Romans, gives us a better way to handle disappointments than being disappointed. What Paul is patiently teaching in this tactically important passage of Scripture is that disappointments do not have the power to dis-appoint you! God has appointed you for goodness and for destiny; therefore, disappointments have no power to undo what God has already done.
To "dis-appoint" implies that your destiny has been forever changed; that formerly you were appointed for destiny and significance but that the disappointing event has forever altered your eternal purpose. "Dis-appointment" would imply that once you were appointed and that some circumstance has stolen your appointment. Daily occurrences or events do not have the authority to dis-appoint you from God's appointment for you!
Paul instructs the body of Christ for all generations to come, that our response to disappointments should be wholehearted exultation. The King James Bible translates this verse using an incredible word, " ... we glory in tribulations, also ..."
We have had it all wrong! We have mistakenly believed that tribulations, or disappointments, are tragic and life-altering obstacles. When the Bible, which is our compass into all truth, tells us that disappointments are our finest hour. It is the opportunity that Christians have to show that we, indeed, are different and that we take this moment to reveal the glory that has been placed within us. We don't cry because of disappointments; we rejoice in them. We don't wail due to disappointments, but we look for the fingerprint of God to reveal itself in our circumstances.
The reason that we are able to rejoice, Paul says, is because we know that the hard stuff in life turns us into the right stuff. Paul tells us to get excited! Get very excited about your trial because it is going to turn you into something better than you could have been without the trial. You are about to become a man or a woman of perseverance who no longer throws a temper tantrum when she doesn't get her way. Perseverance is the ability to face difficulties without giving in emotionally to the difficulties.
"Not only so, but we also boast in tribulation, knowing that tribulation produces patience" (Rom. 5:3).
When you encounter a trial, you become a better version of you. You become a person who has the spiritual tenacity to walk powerfully through the storms of life. If you can learn the secret of revealing the glory of God inside of you during the most difficult days of your life, you will become a stunning example of strength and valor.
However, perseverance is not the end goal of going through difficult situations in life. It is merely Step One in this arduous journey that will only be conquered by placing one foot in front of the other and keeping your eyes on Jesus. Perseverance now points you toward proven character.
"Not only so, but we also boast in tribulation, knowing that tribulation produces patience, patience produces character" (Rom. 5:3-4a).
If you have never before encountered a trial or a tribulation, you are an inexperienced, wet-behind-the-ears Christian. But, if you have rejoiced your way through a tribulation and discovered a strength you never before possessed, now you are one experienced believer! And you know what experience will get you—experience will always get you the job. If you are one of those hall of fame Christians who has willfully chosen to rejoice through a storm and has discovered the power of perseverance, then God will trust you enough to handle situations and circumstances in life that He would not entrust to others.
"and character produces hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Rom. 5:4b-5).
We are the people of hope who serve the God of all hope. It's what we do well: we hope well. Construction workers build, and teachers instruct; retailers sell and waitresses serve. But Christians—they are known for their hope! We don't count the number of trials or tribulations we experience, but we count it an honor to hope in a mighty big God. Hope is anticipating the goodness of God Himself to intervene in your circumstances. When you remain hopeful no matter what you are going through, you will never be disappointed because of God's love. God's love has been spilled out in abundance upon the caverns of your life so you are able to glory in every situation. Situations no longer have the power to disappoint you, but they will bring out the very best in you. The love of God has been poured lavishly out into your heart. When you are loved, everything else is minor. When you know you are unconditionally loved by the Creator of the universe, nothing, absolutely nothing, is able to disappoint you.
Carol McLeod is an author and popular speaker at women's conferences and retreats, where she teaches the Word of God with great joy and enthusiasm. Carol encourages and empowers women with passionate and practical biblical messages mixed with her own special brand of hope and humor. She has written eight books, including The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, Defiant Joy!, Holy Estrogen!, No More Ordinary, Refined, Joy For All Seasons, Let There Be Joy! and Pass the Joy, Please! which releases on February 1, 2018.Her teaching DVD, The Rooms of a Woman's Heart, won the Telly Award, a prestigious industry award for excellence in religious programming. You can also listen to Carol's "Jolt of Joy" program daily on the Charisma Podcast Network. Connect with Carol or inquire about her speaking to your group at justjoyministries.com.
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