Disappointment was etched across Carl’s face as he watched the labradoodle walk obediently past him without even a glance. It was clear that he didn’t understand why this dog could look straight ahead and prance by without a hint of recognition. Being such a little dog and possessing such a strong Napoleon complex, Carl’s disappointment manifested itself through an angry growl and a lunge towards his sister Bee.
Carl never fails to show his emotions for all to see. On the other hand, I typically bury my feelings under the surface so others won’t see the hurt that I am experiencing. Disappointment is one emotion that I try to dodge by ignoring that it exists. If it doesn’t get in through the front door it will invade and take over like a thief entering my house without my knowledge.
What do we do with this emotion that only wants to take us down a path that leads to bitterness and self-righteousness? How can we turn our thoughts into actions that bring us closer to God?
Peter was one man that was clearly disappointed the night that Christ was taken away to be crucified. What happened that night that one minute Peter was willing to cut off the ear of a soldier and then only hours later, retreat and deny Christ three times? God must want us to learn from Peter’s wade through disappointment because what he did that night is recorded in all four Gospel accounts.
For three years Peter had given up his livelihood, his friends, and everything that was meaningful to him to follow a man that was proclaiming to be the Son of God. Peter perceived Jesus to be an earthly leader that would free the Jews from bondage. The Jews were being oppressed by the religious leaders along with the Roman Empire. The shadow of men hanging from crosses stood as a constant reminder to conform or be put to death. Even though Jesus had told his disciples on many occasions that he was going to be killed and rise after three days, Peter couldn’t comprehend how this would actually happen.
So when Jesus was taken by the Roman Soldiers, Peter’s dreams of Jesus becoming king of an earthly kingdom and saving the Jews from bondage came crashing down. Immediately after seeing Jesus taken away, major disappointment set in and Peter went into an emotional tailspin. All of Peter’s expectations were shattered and all he wanted to do was leave the scene and go into hiding. His motivation to defend Jesus was gone and he just wanted to be left alone.
Isn’t this what we typically feel when we build up an image in our minds on how a certain event or project should turn out and it doesn’t? A person hurts us or after dieting for a while the scale goes up and not down. When disappointment sets in, how do we turn it around so that we are not left emotionally drained or feeling defeated?
I believe the answer to changing our emotions can be found by observing Peter and how his disappointment was eradicated. For three days, while Jesus was in the grave Peter and the other disciples were downcast and just couldn’t understand what the implications of Jesus’ death meant to them. And if Jesus had stayed in the grave, there would have been no avenue to turn around their emotions. But Jesus didn’t stay in the grave. Instead He not only rose from the grave but He also conquered death. And when Peter realized this, his disappointment was transformed into joy. A joy that we all can possess when we focus on the fact that no matter how bad life appears, we are promised a heavenly home where disappointment will not exist.
As for Carl, I am not sure he will ever be able to shrug off the disappointment that comes when a well-bred pooch frolics by without giving him the attention that he thinks he deserves. And while he stands at attention with hopes of being noticed, I will look to God and thank Him for my little dog that serves as a reminder of all my many blessings.