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Monday, 5 November 2012

Dealing with disappointment

Last week, I again had the privilege of bringing a devotional word to the meeting of the CPA (Christian Police Association) at the Force Training and Recruitment Centre, Jackton, East Kilbride.   As the national news over recent weeks seems to have been dealing with one disappointment after another - in the worlds of sport, entertainment, and politics; as decisions had recently been made that disappointed many (if not all) within the CPA; as I had experienced my own disappointments; and as all of us experience disappointment from time to time; I sensed that it would be useful to consider how the disciple of Jesus deals with disappointment.

We read the familiar story of Cleopas, and his un-named companion (possibly his wife), making their way from Jerusalem to their home in Emmaus on the evening of the first Sabbath after the crucifixion of Jesus (Lk.24:13ff).  They were disappointed!  They had believed that Jesus of Nazareth was the long-awaited Messiah - but He had been crucified by the Roman authorities, at the instigation of the Jewish leadership.
Then, Jesus appeared, and walked beside them.  It was near dusk.  They didn't realise Who He was.  He asked about the cause of their dejection - and they told Him!

What did He do?  He went straight to the written Word of God and, beginning with the Torah, and the books of the prophets, He explained the references to Himself.  What a Bible Study - given by the Author!  When we are disappointed, it helps to go back to the Word - and we have the writings of the New Covenant that wasn't available to them.

They arrived at their home and, with typical Eastern hospitality, they invited this Stranger to lodge with them for the night.  He accepted their invitation and, again as would have been customary, was invited to say the prayer of blessing over the food as they sat down to supper.  It was at this point that they recognised Him - and then He vanished!  They reflected on their experience: "Didn't our hearts burn within us as we walked with Him on the road?"  Wasn't it wonderful?  Didn't we have a great experience with Him?

Immediately, they put their outdoor clothing on again, and headed back to Jerusalem to share their news with their brothers and sisters in Christ.  Fellowship - with the Lord, and with one another.  That's the second thing I would suggest, as we seek to deal with our disappointments.

The third suggestion is to look forward to the resurrection.  These two disciples were now convinced that Jesus had risen from the dead.  This realisation put everything that they had experienced into a new perspective!  If Jesus was alive, then the future was assured.  Their lives weren't over - they were just beginning!  The Christian Faith wasn't defeated - it had just experienced the greatest victory!  Today really is the first day of the rest of your life.

So, whatever happens to you; whatever disappointments may come your way:
look back to the Word;
look around to the fellowship;
look ahead to the resurrection.

Nothing will hurt very long when you are able to do all of that!

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