Handling Difficulties and Disappointments

Have you ever been disappointed in life?  Have you ever put your heart and soul into, worked really hard at, only to have it seemingly flop?  I have and I can say without hesitation or reservation that it is one of the most difficult times in life.  But my question is, who characterized or classified it as a failure?  I remember my senior season playing baseball.  I was coming off a very successful junior year campaign.  I trained harder in the off season than I had in previous years.  I thought I was poised for sure success in my senior season.  And then it didn’t happen.  I lost velocity on my fastball, I couldn’t throw a curveball for a strike, I was missing my location on pitches.  It was an absolute nightmare.  I actually led to me being pulled from the starting rotation, going to the bullpen, but honestly being nothing more than a pitching coach.  It honestly hurts thinking about it almost 16 years later.  My mind went and has gone to the “what ifs” so many times.  But as the old saying goes, “if a frog had wings he wouldn’t bump his backside.”  If you asked me at the conclusion of the season was I happy I would have told you it is a two-fold answer.  I was happy because our team had won the state title, but I wasn’t happy because I didn’t feel like I contributed to the team.  I classified my senior season as an utter failure for not accomplishing any of my stated objectives and goals.  But was it really a failure?

There are times in life in which things are going to occur and there is nothing you can do about it.  I had prepared to do what I was suppose to do as a pitcher, yet the breaks went against me.  I can remember a verse that I heard a pastor preach on during that season when I visited a church.  He preached on Galatians 6:9, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”  Now let me say this, I was at church, but I could have done a lot better of a job of listening in church.  But I heard this verse and I thought, I just have to try harder and keep trying , eventually things have to break my way.  So I did, I would do extra bullpen sessions, try to train a little more, but nothing changed.  I just didn’t understand it, I didn’t grow weary or faint, but all I was reaping was more and more frustration.  It was until much later that I actually looked at the previous verse to what I had heard.  Galatians 6:8 says, “For he that soweth to his flesh shall the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall o the Spirit reap life everlasting.”  In short, God wasn’t obligated to bless my plans as a baseball player.  God was more interested in my spiritual life (which unfortunately was not what it should have been).  Although I didn’t understand why things happened the way they did that year, I can look back now and see that God was actually preparing me for what His plan was for my life.  Jeremiah 29:11 tells us, “For I know the thoughts (plans) that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”  The phrase “expected end” is interesting to me.  Life surely didn’t go the way I thought it would, but it is happening exactly has God knew it would.

Difficulties and disappointments are inevitable in this life.  They are not always a sign that God is displeased with you (although if you are living in sin He is).  Rather, God is simply working out His plan, which is always the best plan and the right plan, for your life.  His plan includes drawing you to Himself in a relationship that gives you forgiveness and eternal life because of God’s plan for His Son to die on a cross for the sins of the world.  In the end all we can control is our obedience.  Have we done everything that we know to do?  Have we done it with a pure heart and with pure motives?  Maybe God is not punishing you, maybe He is just pruning you for what He has in store for you next.  All you can control is your obedience, the results are up to Him!

By His grace and through His strength may we live for Him

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