Disappointment is Fertile Soil
From the Pulpit – August 22, 2021
Omaha World Herald
Reverend Eric L. Jay
“Disappointment is Fertile Soil”
None of us like to be disappointed, especially when we have invested so much of our hopes, time, and energy trying to make circumstances go the way we think they should.
Life is full of disappointments and circumstances far outside the small scope of our ability to control. Yet, as we read time and again throughout Scripture, disappointment is often the fertile soil in which the transformative and miraculous power of God blossoms forth.
The Apostle Paul had big plans of preaching the Gospel in Ephesus. Jesus commanded His Apostles to take the Gospel to “all nations,” and Ephesus was the oldest, richest, and most populous Roman province in the eastern part of the Roman Empire at the time. If the Gospel could take root there, it would certainly spread like wildfire! Despite being a perfectly good idea and despite Paul having the right intentions of proclaiming the Gospel, verse 6 says they were “forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.”
The whole reason he was on this journey was to preach, it was God who specifically and personally sent Paul to preach, and now the very Spirit of God forbade them from doing so. Paul was no doubt frustrated and confused. However, God’s Spirit didn’t say stop walking, just “don’t preach here.” So, Paul kept walking to another land of great opportunity, Bithynia. Yet again, however, Paul is turned around. Verse 7 says, “the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them” to go into Bithynia.
Why did the Spirit of Jesus prevent the preaching of the Gospel from going into ideal locations, twice? We don’t know. What we do know is that by one way or another Jesus made it clear to Paul not to go, to simply trust Him, and submit to God’s plans, not his own.
Sometimes, that’s just the way it is. Sometimes despite our best intentions and hardest efforts, things don’t work out. In those times, we must do what Paul and his companions did: trust that what God has forbidden is a blessing we cannot yet see. We believe this with confidence because we believe in the love of God that comes to us carrying a cross on the road to Calvary. Our Lord and Savior Jesus who paved the way to heaven with His own blood has promised to work all things for our good, even the disappointments in life and circumstances we cannot control. God has proven His almighty love and power over every part of our life by saving our life in the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus. Because of sin, death was and is the biggest disappointment every person must face and the biggest circumstance outside of our control. But God has overcome what we cannot and has given us eternal life by grace through faith in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus.
So, the next time you find yourself disappointed or at the mercy of circumstances outside of your control, rejoice in the God who is in control and who has already brought you to your eternal destination.