Dealing with disappointments.
2 Timothy 4:9-18
By: Ysrael De la Cruz
At one time or another it is safe to say that every person has experienced disappointment in life. Some people have disappointed you or maybe you yourself have disappointed people.
Disappointment: sadness or displeasure caused by the nonfulfillment of one’s hopes or expectations.(dictionary) in other words, you will be displeased , unhappy or disappointed when something or someone does not meet your expectations or doesn’t do what you hope.
“If there is one predictable thing in this life, it’s that you will be disappointed somehow. It can start young – your parents don’t parent well, your teachers are bullies in school, your friends turn on you for no reason – or it can happen later in life; someone you care about betrays you, you lose a job you love, or you are let go after many loyal years.” Psychology today: Beverly D. Flaxington
Alexander Pope “Blessed is he who expects nothing for he shall never be disappointed.”
disappointments happen in every stage of our life. In our family, in any relationship, at school, work, grocery store, diner, church, ministry, etc. It will happen everywhere, then How do we deal with it? Let us look at a man in Scripture who experienced great disappointments and how he dealt with it.
The apostle Paul wrote two letters to Timothy, his young protégé (whom he called son in the faith) This letter was written around 66 A.D. while Paul was in prison in Rome. Paul knew that the end of his life was fast approaching, and he wanted to encourage Timothy to remain true to his task as a preacher of the gospel.
Listen to the words of the apostle toward the end of writing. His personal remarks to this young preacher.
2 Timothy 4:9-18
Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.
You hear Paul’s tone in which he needed companionship, he requested Timothy to do his best to come see him. Paul was disappointed by Demas. Who was Demas? He was one of Paul’s companions (fellow workers) Philemon 1:23-24
Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, 24and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers
Colossians 4:14 Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas.
Demas abandoned the apostle Paul and the reason Paul gives is that “he loved the world system” more than Jesus. He stopped following Jesus and stopped being a servant and ministry partner of Paul.
In each of Paul’s letter, you will notice the names of people at the end of his letters, whom he greets. They were his associates or partners in ministry, many of them were traveling companions on his missionary journeys to plan churches in the Mediterranean world.
Demas, Crescens went to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia
Luke was with Paul when he wrote this letter.
Get Mark and bring him with you because he is helpful to me in my ministry (.v11)
Tychicus was sent to Ephesus by Paul. (v.12)
Carpus who lived in Troas.
Paul wanted Timothy to bring Mark with him. “Bring Mark with you for he is very useful to me for ministry.” ESV (11)
Mark was one of Paul’s first companions; he accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey. (Acts 12:25) But Mark did not continue with them, he deserted them and returned to Jerusalem.
Acts 15:36-39 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches. ESV
Mark was the reason Paul and Barnabas parted company. Paul wanted to revisit the towns where they had preached and Barnabas wanted to take Mark, but Paul did not think it wise since Mark had abandoned them on their first journey. Paul and Barnabas could not agree on this and they chose to go their separate ways. Mark was the reason of this division. However, years later, Mark proved himself to the apostle Paul; they reconciled each other for Paul mentioned him on his letters to Colossians and Philemon: Col.4:10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, and Mark the cousin of Barnabas (concerning whom you have received instructions—if he comes to you, welcome him).
Philemon 1: 23Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, 24and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.
Now Paul wanted Mark to come to him for he would be beneficial to his ministry once again.
What can we learn about dealing with disappointments when we study the life of Paul?
1) Expect disappointment: There will always be people who will disappoint you; even those who may be close to you. The one you least expect it, may end up disappointing you someday. Just like Demas disappointed Paul. Paul experienced loneliness while in prison and needed companionship; Demas deserted him and Paul requested Timothy to visit him soon and to bring Mark.
When people disappoint you, God will bring other people along side of you to strengthen you and supply your needs. There will be those who would stick with you through thick and thin in moments of difficulties. You read the names of those who were still with Paul even in the midst of trials. (v.11) Only Luke is with me. (Luke the writer of the gospel and book of Acts, was right there with Paul during his imprisonment) He did not leave him. You see the list of those with whom Paul was still in contact and he requested Timothy to come and see him and to bring Mark. Paul would be greatly encouraged by having Timothy and Mark with him there.
No disappointment, no failure, no mistake is beyond repair. Paul was disappointed by Mark early in his ministry, but now Mark would be one of those God will use to minister to Paul. Some difficult relationships can be mended, repaired. Mark would be very useful for Paul now. Those who disappoint you may be useful in your life again. So never count God out in the midst of disappointment, for he can repair any broken relationship when we allow him to do so.
Expect opposition: not everyone will like you. (Alexander the metalworker opposed Paul in Ephesus and now Paul warned Timothy about him). You will always have people working against you in your pursue to do the things God has called you to do. You will have opposition in ministry; in your trying to reach certain goals. Not everyone will cheer you on. Some will try to put you down. But don’t give in to them.
Expect that you will have to stand alone at times (v.16)
At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength.
God’s faithfulness and provision will be evident even when people abandon you. When you may be alone in situations, God will never leave you.
God will always stand by you when you are faithful to his cause. (v.17-)
Regardless of disappointments Paul experienced, the trials and hardships he had to endure. He never quit proclaiming the gospel of Jesus. Even from prison he would preach. He learned to be prepared in season and out of season. He acknowledged God’s presence even in the midst of difficulty.
-The Lord stood at my side and gave me strength.
-I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.
-The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Change your focus: focus on the eternal hope
Sometimes we get stuck focusing on the here and now, our present situation isn’t the end of the story. Paul knew how disappointing life could seem. We can read his letters to know that. Yet he never quit encouraging his fellow believers to see the big picture in the midst of their trials and hold on to their supreme hope in God.
Listen to his focus and determination in 2 Tim.4:18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever.
Paul focused on the bigger picture, not on his disappointments.
Do you see the bigger picture amidst what you are going through?
God is bigger than your disappointments, they are not the final chapter of your life. His focus was on the Lord
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” ( 2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Paul dealt with disappointments through a Christ-centered perspective. He had a Christ-centered outlook on life. That is the reason why disappointment did not break him. He truly could do all things through Christ. Even when he was forsaken by others; he recognized God’s presence with him. He knew God also brought other people to minister to him. He focused on the bigger picture, his future hope. The disappointments were just part of his life, but not the end of it. He knew that he still needed to fight the good fight, keep his faith and finish his race. Only a Christ-centered perspective will keep you firmly planted in the world of uncertainty and disappointments. Only a Christ-centered outlook will help you run your race well.