Have you ever wanted something so bad that it was all you could think about? Dream about? Talk about? Was your desire so strong that it caused you to pray more than you have ever prayed? Yet your desire was left unfulfilled?
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” Proverbs 13:12
The word sick in the Hebrew means wounded, to become grieved, to feel pain. This level of disappointment goes deeper than the surface and can be difficult to overcome. The Bible contains timeless wisdom that will prevent us from becoming “heartsick” and feeling crushed with disappointment.
The Bible holds transferrable principles that transcend culture and time. When kept in context, the principles of scripture can be applied to any person, in any culture, at any time and produce results. If God says He is going to do something, then He will do it.
“so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11
“God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” Numbers 23:19
“For I am the LORD; I will speak the word that I will speak, and it will be performed.” Ezekiel 12:25a
Proverbs 13 stresses the importance of receiving wise instruction. Advice from the wrong source will yield undesirable results. This is why discipleship is a necessary part of our relationship with God. If you’re not in a routine of spending time in God’s word and obeying what you read/hear, make a fresh commitment right now to discipleship. Discipleship means we read, apply, repent when necessary, and repeat.
“There are no experts in the company of Jesus. We are all beginners.” Eugene Peterson
Let’s look at three disciplines that can help us avoid crushing disappointment.
#1 Consult God’s word.
God gave us a book full of wisdom that when applied to our life produces transforming results. He also said in James that if a person lacks wisdom, they should ask God who gives it generously without finding fault.
“5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6
We lean upon God not because we are weak but because He is the source of wisdom.
#2 Seek wise counsel.
Getting counsel from other godly men or women will help us align our desires with God’s will. Check out these verses on the importance of seeking wise counsel.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7
“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” Proverbs 12:15
“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22
Don’t subscribe to an “open-door” philosophy when it comes to decision making. Just because a door is open doesn’t mean that you’re supposed to walk through it. That may not be God’s timing or direction. Commit that decision to prayer. God always answers prayer.
“Call to me, and I will answer you…” Jeremiah 33:3
“God won’t answer 100% of the prayers you don’t pray,” Mark Batterson
The truth is that we don’t always like God’s answer. God answers every prayer with a “yes, not right now, no.” Sometimes our prayers receive a “no” because we ask with the wrong motive, James 4:3. When God says “no” or He is silent, He may choose to refine our prayers by addressing our motives.
Avoid disappointment and a crushed spirit by consulting God’s word for God’s will, turn to godly men and women and get a broader perspective on your desires/situation, and turn to prayer and yield to God’s answer or to the refinement of your prayer.