“Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.” — Eliza Tabor
Have you been disappointed or hurt by a dear friend, a colleague at work, or a relative?
Who sets out for the day hoping to be let down by anyone? Distress, disappointment, and hurt sometimes find their way to us when we least expect them. However, building inner strength prepares and strengthens us in times of distress.
Disappointment and hurt come with life. At some point, we’ll either offend someone or be offended. But just as an abrasive smoothen out rough edges on materials, distress can be an abrasive that helps refine us.
How we go about disappointment and pain, however, determines how refined or boorish we’ll become. Our response goes a long way in shaping the quality of life, friendships, freedom, and opportunities we’ll experience afterwards. It also affects our ability to pursue goals with energy and persistence.
The scripture puts it this way: “A broken (crushed) spirit saps your strength, but a cheerful heart is a good medicine” —Prov 17:22
I received shocking news…
It was in February 2012, I’d only returned from my four (4) weeks vacation. Like any other day, I resumed work at one of my company’s branches. I’d phoned one of my colleagues who was also the store manager for some help. But her response over the phone gave me an inkling that something was amiss. She added also that she’ll be coming to meet me in my branch office shortly.
My branch manager walked in with a gloomy look that confirmed my suspicion. She narrated some incidents that had occurred while I was away. Then she made some staggering statements that weren’t true about me.
As those words swirled around my head, I could only freeze. I lost all ounce of strength to defend myself, let alone a clue of what to do. In my wildest imagination, I didn’t see any of those accusations coming.
As I stood startled, trying so hard to think straight, she then announced that I would no longer be working with them; I had two weeks to make an appeal.
I learned only a few days later that there’d been some chit-chatting behind me while I was away. This was only the aftermath of their conversations.
Fear, mixed with anger, gripped my heart. The world stood still at that moment as myriads of thoughts raced through my mind. “What would people say?” I’d testified how I miraculously got the job. “What a bad example you are, how will we pay our bills? No other person will want to hire you…” The thoughts kept flowing.
I felt so angry and hurt as everything within me was yelling, “lash out!” Just then, I heard this gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit saying to keep calm.
Somehow, I restrained myself. The days that followed were simply horrible! They were filled with confusion and bewilderment. I felt no strength or motivation to do anything. This reminds me of what the scriptures say in Proverbs 24:10 “ If your strength fails on the day of battle, your strength is small.”
In other words, if we sink, withdraw, slack or quit, on a day of affliction, troubles, distress, or challenge, our ability and strength are insufficient.
We fight back with strength from our Spirit within…
Now, my thoughts were blurred with anger and disappointment. Yet, as I studied and pondered on God’s word, the anger gradually diffused. One day, the thought that ” Everything works together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose in Romans 8: 28” occurred to me.
This thought suddenly gave me an assurance that everything would go well. I was quite unsure of what to do, so I spent more time with God in prayer and in the Word, trusting Him to direct my steps.
Avoid the temptation to run off to go tell people a negative report before speaking with your father above. Sure, we may seek counsel from people but let’s learn to consult God FIRST. That shows we trust and value His opinion more than anyone else’s.
Regarding this, the Bible says: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his arm, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD”— (Jeremiah 17:5-7).
As the days passed, we (I and my husband) felt we should contact a lawyer. Meanwhile, one day, I felt led to read Matthew 5:44-48 ( please find time to read). Paraphrasing, it says: to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us, do good to those who hate us and to bless and do not curse.
With God’s help, I prayed this way. I asked God to forgive my colleague. I started saying that I loved her, I forgave her, and I prayed for God to reveal Himself to her. Gradually, I noticed my attitude toward her beginning to change from anger to compassion. I couldn’t speak ill of her anymore. I’d forgiven her.
Interestingly, on the day of the hearing, even my other colleagues I hadn’t called upon spoke up for me. I was shocked at the outcome of events in my favour: The company apologized profusely and annulled their statement against me. To say the least, I was restored to work.
Surprisingly, like the ricochet of a bullet, the store manager was demoted and replaced some weeks later.
Two years later, after we both had left the company, she called me to apologize that she offended me. Glory to God!
It’s so exciting to watch how God fights our battles when we approach issues His way; God designed for us to overcome ALL hurt and challenges of life with a good attitude.
My Key Takeaways
- God’s word gives us the right perspective to deal with relationship issues; if we make time for God’s words, it will show up in times we need it.
- People’s bad attitudes shouldn’t change our good attitudes.
- God uses situations, both good and bad, especially people’s bad attitudes, to refine us.
- A strong spirit can stand in anything (Prov 18:14). God’s Word is food for our spirit. It becomes our thoughts and words if we feed enough of it. God’s word can work through us helping us overcome any challenge.
- Entrusting our lives to God helps us respond to negative circumstances out of a living relationship with Jesus Christ —love and not bitterness.