Valentine's Day did not bring a special delivery of two-dozen, long-stemmed red roses, nor a card to me expressing how much I am loved or appreciated. I wasn't expecting anything anyhow, my husband has never been much for romance.
It goes something like this... I make a candlelight dinner and he says “What's wrong with the lights? I can't see what I'm eating.” After a few years you kind of get the picture of what to anticipate and what not to. How he was raised has much to do with it. But this isn't about spouse issues or marriage counseling. It's about disappointment and what you do with it.
Last Wednesday held a bigger personal hurt for me than having no flowers or candy. I received word that something I had sought and waited on for six weeks was not going to be coming my way. I was informed not by a warm voice but via a cold e-mail. My heart fell. I wanted to eat everything in the house, because that is what disappointment does to me, it makes me a human vacuum wanting to fill the empty space of where the euphoria was supposed to be.
Out of 656 other peers I had bombed out... along with 652 others. Only four winners were chosen. We had not achieved what we set out to do by hours and hours of careful editing and word cutting. I wish this was the first time but it has happened before, year after year. And still I try. Now what? Each time I fall down in a personal endeavor like this, Jesus comes along and reaches into my fallen position and says, “Come on, let me help you up.”
A few hours later I was still smarting from the announcement but moving on. The longer you dwell on your dashed hopes, the worse it becomes until it morphs into an uncontrollable way of life and if you're like me, an excuse to binge eat yourself to death.
That's why having Christ in our lives is so important. Faith teaches us to walk on its road and expect both blessings and trials. Just because I have Jesus on my side does not mean I'm a guaranteed winner of anything other than his grace. We can't argue with the Bible, it says to expect both. I've learned that when I fall flat on my face, I need to lean harder on Jesus and keep on going.
No where in scripture can I find a better example of this than when Jesus and his disciples were at the Last Supper. Bummer of all bummers, he was going to leave them. Worse than that, he was going to die. But John 21:20 gives us a look into life and learning to lean on Jesus.
“Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”
Peter to be sure, is an interesting character and he lets us have a look into the confusion between our flesh and our spirit. Peter knew Jesus loved John, but was he thinking somehow that Christ did not love him as much? Jealousy! You love him more! He noticed that John leaned on Jesus.
As a sinner, someone still in the flesh, I understand all to well the meaning of “the flesh” being weak. So often my deceiving heart wants me to go this way and my mind is rushing in agreement with my choice. Commercials tell us “we deserve it.” In the end, the world will not be our judge, but Christ will.
Jesus quickly told Peter to mind his own affairs. What he does with John or Sarah or Harry or anyone is of no concern to us. His point is, how are we getting along with Him? What are we doing to follow in his steps?
The wrongs done to us by others (real or imagined) are never an excuse for us to do wrong. No matter how many times we fail by returning to our bad habits, it does not mean this time could be the last. Using excuses and pointing out the failures of others will not have us leaning on Jesus for help, but rather have him rebuking us to get our eyes on Him, not people, not circumstances.
In spite of everything Jesus told the disciples, John had it in perspective, “Is it me?”.
Try not to be concerned so much about what other people are doing on their walk while being transformed into the likeness of Jesus. Walking in faith is not an easy task. If you're looking to always fail, you probably will. However, if your looking to be a winner, even when you fail, you have already won, especially if you are leaning on Jesus.
The next time you're disappointed, fail at reaching your goals, or you fall flat on your face in some other way, remember, instead of another fix, another pill, another drink, another bag of chips, look up, you will see Jesus reaching down. Take his hand, you're already a winner because he loves you! And when necessary, lean hard on Him.