“Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.”
Proverbs 13:12 KJV
You allow for discouragement when you have hopes that don’t come to pass; it makes your heart sick, which leads to physical sickness. If you aren’t prospering on the inside, you cannot truly prosper on the outside. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have hopes. Hope placed in the right direction (like in the Lord and His promises) is a “tree of life” when it comes to pass. Seeing what you are hoping for encourages you. You just have to make sure that you have realistic and godly desires.
One of the keys to dealing with disappointment is learning to let go of the disappointment, especially when it’s justified. You may have every reason to be upset and discouraged; maybe you were promised something from someone and they just dropped you without warning? You have every right to be discouraged – but you also have every right not to be discouraged. You can choose. A lot of people will walk around in discouraging circumstances and choose to stay in it. They will even say to themselves (and everyone who will listen) things like, “I’m so disappointed that…”. And then they camp there for a while. Instead of using their weapon (their tongue) to get them out of the situation, they’re using it as a weapon for mass (self-) destruction (Proverbs 18:21). Even if the disappointment is 100% justified – if you do not deal with it, it will deal with you. You cannot afford the luxury of indulging in negative emotions. The enemy will throw whatever he can at you to distract you from your destiny (to positively influence people for Jesus) by getting you into self-centredness and not to move on from offense and disappointment. If you want to live in victory and fulfil your destiny, then you need to learn to respond correctly to disappointment and move on.
One way in which we can deal with disappointments is to remind ourselves that it’s not the end of the world – it really isn’t! It doesn’t matter how bad it is: if you put it into perspective in light of eternity, it will all work out and as a believer, you’ll ultimately win. That’s how Jesus encouraged His disciples just before He went to the cross. They were about to see their hope crucified, and I am certain that they experienced some grief and disappointment. Jesus knew what was coming and so He prepared them for it by saying many things.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”
John 14:1 ESV
Jesus was encouraging His disciples that they didn’t have to allow their hearts to be troubled. We have control over our emotions. He encourages them to have faith, and then to put things into perspective. It’s as if He’s saying: “Even if it seems like the end of the world, just think about eternity: in My Father’s house are many rooms… we’re going to be there, in complete victory, together for eternity one day”. God wants us to experience victory in the here and now, but we aren’t guaranteed an easy life. If everything is falling apart around you, you can be full of hope and peace and joy because as believers we have the guarantee of an amazing eternity waiting for us.
“I have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 TLB
Jesus assured us that challenging circumstance would come our way, but that we could get through with joy and peace. He said, “I have told you all this so that you will have peace”. Why do many Christians not experience peace? Because they do not know what Jesus has said!