By Thomas L. Andrews
The burden of disappointment is common to most people. Everyone has experienced the joy of hope for a period of time only to have it crushed by reality and then have to suffer disappointment. Suffering is exactly what it is, for many times we cry real tears. The tragic thing about disappointment is that it can be frequent, and yet the pain does not necessarily decrease with experience in many cases. The hurting can be terrible time and time again.
Perhaps there is no greater opportunity for disappointment than when working with people. People let us down and disappoint us, oh so often. This hits harder when dealing with brethren for we tend to expect more from Christians, and we have the right to expect more. Yes, but brethren will be disappointing. How many have wondered about the value of trying at times when brethren are acting so unconcerned and even hateful. Take courage for you are not alone in this feeling. Jesus is our example.
As we read, “Will ye also go away?”, the disappointment of Jesus rings in every word. Sympathy for Jesus would be felt even if we did not believe Him to be the Son of God. People that Jesus had fed, healed, and taught turned their backs on Him-“From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (Jn. 6:66-67). Again, no doubt, as Jesus looked on the mob that was crying for his crucifixion, He could see people that were a disappointment to Him. What was it that He said? “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Lk. 23:34). That is our example.
Yes, people, even brethren, are disappointing. The aggravation, the worrying, all the things we have to deal with are trivial compared to what Jesus experienced. There was no doubt in Jesus’ mind as to whether people were worth all the suffering. He knew the value of souls for He came to seek and to save the lost (Lk. 19:10).
Disappointment is one of the burdens that we must bear (Rom. 15:1; Gal. 6:2). This must not be a hindrance to us in the Lord’s work. With Jesus as our example, we must busy ourselves in the Lord’s vineyard. There is much to do and there is no place for idle disappointed Christians sitting around. God told Elijah to get up and go to work (1 Kings 19). Talk to Jesus; He understands.
Truth Magazine XXII: 13, p. 220
March 30, 1978