It can come without warning. Especially in this season of hope, of peace and joy. We can become pregnant with unbridled expectations of how things are supposed to be at Christmas time. Or, at any other time. Then, things just don’t turn out the way we hoped. The way we expected. Families feud, loved ones die, children fight, budgets stretch beyond elasticity, jobs are lost, wars don’t cease; especially those that can rage inside of us. Disappointment.
There is no one size fits all in the disappointment department. They seem to come custom made for each of us, fitting all too well. Closing in tight around our hearts, drumming loudly in our minds. They hurt. No, they devastate, especially this time of year.
But what if we refused to wear them, refused to be custom fitted for them the way a teenage boy shuns being custom fit for a spiffy new suit? What if we balked the way the skinned knee, high top wearing tomboy does as Mom tries desperately to talk her into a cute pair of patent leather shoes? What if we just decided that we would turn the tables on disappointment and view it like the plague? Refusing to take it into our very beings?
But how? Life hurts. People can and will be cruel. Hearts get broken. I know it all too well. And yet, I’ve been pondering this thing about disappointment and the power it seems to wield over we, oft times, frail human beings. It can too quickly grow to a life of its’ own choking out any hope or joy we once held. But what is it that we can do when the unexpected ugly hits us smack in the face?
We do what Mary did all those many nights ago in a stable on a cold night in Bethlehem. We choose how we will acknowledge the unexpected, the uninvited, the unpleasant. I am fairly certain that this young woman did not expect to birth her first child, the Savior of the world in a room where animals were kept and fed. And I am sure that she never imagined she would be unwed and pregnant (quite a social stigma in those days), far away from home as she prepared for Jesus birth. And, after giving birth to the King of Kings, it may be fair to say that she didn’t expect the angels to run and tell the shepherds who would be the first on the scene to celebrate this miraculous event. Talk about disappointments……….
Yet here in this beautiful story, woven into the fabric of Luke with a simple beauty that goes almost unnoticed is a verse that tells us, 2000 years later, how to view earthly disappointments as something completely different—Divine appointments! Luke 2:19 tells us this “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” How beautifully simple and wondrously profound!
She didn’t fall to pieces; she didn’t doubt God’s goodness or plan; she didn’t grumble, complain or “tweet” about how miserable her life was; Undoubtedly, there were many things she didn’t understand, but she didn’t feed the disappointment No, she stored them in her heart, as treasures, trusting them to her heavenly Father, pondering them before His heart, allowing His timing to work what would seem to be the unthinkable into unimaginable good!
We don’t have to look far in Scripture to see that is what God does. Turns what we call disappointments into Divine appointments! And we get to be part of the process, that is truly amazing to me! The process isn’t always easy, more often it is hard, it hurts, but we can choose to use the Mary method: to view the circumstances as uncovered treasures and to allow our loving Father to nurture them as we ponder in our hearts His love and goodness and trust the disappointment to Him knowing and trusting Who He is we rest in Him!
Disappointment or Divine appointment——–you decide! As for me, by the grace of God I am trying to use the Mary method as I face some difficult situations this Christmas season. I pray that you will do the same!