Living Through Disappointments – Jeremiah 10:19
By Dennis Love
For the past three months, we all know what it is like to be disappointed and what it is like to have our plans changed. Have you noticed that before COVID-19 that life was passing us by at the speed of light? I mean the weeks were flying by at record speed.
But now that we have been confined to our homes and not able to meet together as the body of Christ, the time has seemingly slowed down to a crawl. So, yes, we have had to deal with some disappointments over the past several months. But can you imagine experiencing personal tragedy and disappointments your entire life? I cannot imagine that, can you?
Throughout his life, Jeremiah experienced one disappointment after another. His family turned on him. The entire nation of Judah turned against him. He watched the enemy come and take his people into captivity. And he watched the city where he lived and the temple where he worshipped be completely destroyed. If ever a man had a broken heart it was Jeremiah. Imagine serving God faithfully all of your life and then seeing it all fall apart! Jeremiah could have died a bitter and broken man, but he didn’t. He was able to face his disappointments head-on and live for God through them.
Look at what he says in Jeremiah 10:19. “Woe is me for my hurt! My wound is grievous; but I said, truly this is a grief, and I must bear it.” Notice closely what he says. He said, “This is a grief and I must bear it.” He doesn’t say this is more than I can bear. He doesn’t ask when all of this is going to end. He says, this is a grief and I must bear it. This is one of the greatest declarations of faith that you will find anywhere in your Bible. How did Jeremiah learn to face and conquer the disappointments of his life? Well, the first way he discovered to face and conquer the disappointments of his life was that he learned to:
Expect Disappointments in Life
Life is not always going to be sunny and clear. There’s going to be days—even weeks—even months when life is going to be filled with disappointments. Some people have this idea that Christians who are faithful escape disappointments. That is not true! God does not promise that we will never have a broken heart. As long as we are on this earth, we will have some tears and we will have our share of disappointments. Some of the greatest people in this book had their share of disappointments. Don’t you know that Abraham was disappointed in the behavior of his nephew Lot? Don’t you know that Joseph was disappointed in the way his brothers treated him? Don’t you know that the sins of Israel broke the heart of Moses? Jeremiah didn’t try to fool himself into thinking that everything was fine. He said, “Woe is me for my hurt.” He admitted that he was hurting. He confessed that he had been wounded by those who should have brought him great joy. So, expect disappointments in life. It’s one of the hard facts of life and we are living it out right now. Here is something else Jeremiah teaches us. He teaches us that:
Our Disappointments Are In The Hands of God
Now I’m sure that there were times that Jeremiah thought the Lord had forsaken him. Why wasn’t God answering his prayers? Why wasn’t the Word of God that he was preaching bearing fruit and changing his nation? Was it really worth staying there and preaching to a bunch of hard-hearted people? Listen to Jeremiah’s declaration of faith once again in v19. “Truly this is a grief and I must bear it.” Did you hear what he said? He doesn’t blame God for not answering his prayers as he expected Him to. He doesn’t try to change God’s mind and plead with God not to send judgment upon His own people. He simply accepted the burden of his grief and trusted God to work it out for His good and perfect will. We must do the same! We have got to trust God to the point that we know that He is going to work out this virus to accomplish His good and perfect will. We need to learn what Jeremiah learned. We need to learn that our disappointments are in the hands of God. There is a basic law in this universe that says: “Fight the will of God and it will break you; accept the will of God and it will make you.” Question is, which will we do? Then there is a third truth that we learn from Jeremiah and it is this.
Yield to God’s Will and Let Him Mature You and Use You
Do you see what Jeremiah is doing here in this verse? He’s simply yielding his will to God’s will. He is not trying to get his own way. He said this is a grief and I must bear it. In other words, this is something I’m going to yield to God and let Him work out His perfect plan for me and His people. Now, what was the result of Jeremiah doing this? The nation of Judah was taken into captivity by the Babylonians. Jeremiah was kidnapped and was taken into Egypt and tradition says that this man Jeremiah was stoned to death for preaching the truth. The story here doesn’t have a happy ending, but God’s will is carried out, and as long as the will of God is being carried out, there will be a happy ending.
What I’m saying to you is that Jeremiah’s life was a life of disappointments, but he lived through them. Now you read this, and your heart is probably hurting right now for Jeremiah. His entire life was one disappointment after another. But before we get teary-eyed for Jeremiah, remember this, Jeremiah was a lot like Jesus. When God made Jeremiah, He was making a man that would mirror Jesus Himself. Do you remember when Jesus walked among us that He asked His disciples who do men say that I am? Do you recall what they said? They said, “Well, some say you are Jeremiah.” They compared Jeremiah to Jesus.
The disappointments of his life are what carved Jeremiah into the spitting image of Jesus Himself. Now is that not what disappointments are all about? Isn’t God taking our disappointments to make us more into the image of His dear Son, and isn’t He taking COVID-19 to work out all things for His own good? Now I know that we look at all of this as a great disappointment in our lives. But understand this truth folks: Our disappointments in life are God’s opportunities to mature us and to also promote the Good News of the Gospel. So, for this brief time of grief, let’s bear it like Jeremiah bore his grief—–not complain about it. Let us allow God to mature us through all of this and let’s allow God to use each of us in and through all of this to share Jesus with others around us. To me, that’s really something to think about!
Dr. Dennis Love is the Senior Pastor at Glenwood Baptist Church in Marion, NC. He and his wife Vicki have been married for 39 years. They have been in Marion for 5 years. They have two sons and three grandchildren. You can visit the Glenwood Baptist Church Facebook page or The Glenwood Baptist Church Website
You can also read more from Dr. Dennis Love HERE.