Do you ever get disappointed? Not just with big things, but small things in life also. Like traffic or lines at Wal-Mart. Merriam-Webster defines disappointed as defeated in expectation or hope. One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about how Joseph dealt with the news that Mary was pregnant with the baby Jesus.

Luke 1:18-25

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

Do you think Joseph dealt with any disappointment? Well Scripture tells us he was a just man so he was going to quietly divorce Mary instead of publicly shaming her. Can you imagine Mary coming to Joseph with the we need to talk conversation and then finding out it’s supposedly God’s baby? I can only speculate because the Scriptures don’t elaborate on everything that went through Joseph’s mind. I am sure he had some expectations crushed by the idea that he was marrying a pregnant woman and that he would have a son that was not his, but God’s entrusted to him to be his earthly father. I think he probably had some anxiety when he thought about what people would think and say.

God in his perfect care spoke to Joseph through an angel in a dream and calmed his soul. What calmed the soul of Joseph was understanding that all of this was part of God’s sovereign plan. This plan would bring God glory and provide the way of salvation for sinners. Joseph got a glimpse of how his life was one of the details in God’s plan of redemption. Also this plan and this disappointment of Joseph was for his joy.

Disappointment is not a sin. But I think disappointment is a crossroads where we spend a fleeting amount of time. We encounter disappointment when our expectations and hopes fail or are constrained. Our loving God who disciplines those he loves is willing to frustrate the hopes and expectations in our lives that focus on self or others. Our hope can only be in Christ. God is willing to disappoint me so that he may point me to himself when I am looking elsewhere for joy and fulfillment.

When I encounter disappointment I need to ask myself where my emotion is coming from, what are the hopes and expectations that were defeated? At the crossroads of disappointment I can trust God and his sovereign plan, even when it is something that is uncomfortable or maybe painful. Or I can question the plan and goodness of God. If I begin to question the goodness of God disappointment quickly turns into frustration, anger, bitterness, or despair.

Ask yourself how God is loving you through this disappointment?