So many things are being cancelled at the moment. The big ones, like Wimbledon, get into the news but across the country there must be thousands of local events that have been thought through, planned for, set up – and now not happening. So disappointing.
Coping with disappointment is something that every human being has to face at some stage (or at several stages, in fact). Missing out on something at school, not quite the right exam results, not getting a job you really wanted, a relationship that just doesn’t work out – even the wrong kind of weather when you were just planning to tackle that outdoors job at last. Or the fact that the place where you would get your materials or plants is not open at the moment. You know the scene.
Saying stoically “But I’ve moved on now” doesn’t seem to deal with real disappointment either, brave though it may sound. Some things go deeper than that, and going into denial is not the answer.
The Bible does not do that. Sometimes I am accused of going on rather about the Hebrew Psalms, but one of the reasons I am so attached to them is that they speak honestly about every human emotion and ask serious questions about the bits of life that are hard to take, even more to understand. Try reading Psalm 31, for instance (in a modern translation to get the contemporary impact of it). There we encounter a person who is experiencing multiple disappointment and deep hurt, speaking openly and passionately about it to God, but concluding that all our times are in his hand.
Sometimes Christians – and other people of faith – are accused of being escapists. Unable to face up to life and get a handle on it on their own, they construct an imaginary faith crutch to lean on. Comforting but delusional.
Far from it: they do the precise opposite. They face up to all that is going on and say “How does all this square up to a God whose love is never-ending and stronger than every other force in the world?” They realise that there is no escape from the hurts of life but there is a refuge in the God of unfailing love whose eye always sees the bigger picture and who we read “in all things works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose”.
“My times” – and that includes the disappointments – “are in your hand.” Where could they be safer?