Since the Bible is an accurate record of the lives of many people, it reveals the shortcomings and failures of human nature. It also tells of miraculous rescues of those who had become great disappointments to others and to themselves.
Abraham disappointed his wife, Sarah, by telling the kings of Egypt that she was his sister, in order to save his life. But this same man rebounded from weakness and became known as the friend of God and the father of the faithful.
Jacob disappointed his father, Isaac, by pretending to be his brother, Esau, so that he could receive the blessing of the firstborn son (Genesis 27). But later Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, meaning “Prince with God,” and in his older years he lived up to his new name.
Have others disappointed you? Don’t give up on them. The best may be yet to come.
More than any other, Jesus felt the wounds of disappointment from those He loved.
He did not do many mighty works in His home area because so few there believed.
Even after His perfect example of humility, two of His disciples, James and John, connived to get the highest places in the kingdom.
Peter denied his Lord three times just before the crucifixion.
Thomas could not summon faith enough to believe in the resurrection without visible proof.
Yet in all these heartbreaking experiences, there is not one word of self-pity or bitterness from our Lord. Why?
Because He understood human nature and was not shaken by its ugly manifestations. He had not come to condemn but to save. Beyond even the cruel cross was the joy of rescuing lost people and giving them eternal life. He saw past the failures and sins to the future potential of those about Him.
Many who had rejected Him would believe.
James and John who had desired the highest places in the kingdom would become faithful apostles, preachers and penman who would turn others to faith.
Peter would become the spokesman for the New Testament church.
Thomas would believe after a weak week and would finally give his life as a martyr, being thrust through with a spear and suffering a wound somewhat like the one he had once demanded to be able to thrust his hand into in order to believe.
These disappointing ones would become dynamic Christians, turning the world upside down with their powerful preaching of the Gospel that had been entrusted to them. They would rise up from defeat and go on to the greatest days of their lives.
Many have done just that. So can you.
Your recent failures need not mean the end of meaningful living. The future can be brighter than the past. And a great future beats a great past every time.
God can make the difference for you. Like the Prodigal Son who came to himself in the pigpen and returned to his waiting father, you can return. You can rise up from defeat and receive your Heavenly Father’s welcome.
Haven’t you been defeated long enough?
Roger Campbell is an author, a broadcaster and columnist who was a pastor for 22 years.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org