Disappointment to Joy
Have you ever experienced your disappointment turning to joy?
Perhaps you go to your favorite restaurant, but on this occasion, it is are closed. You had been looking forward to the meal all day. You have heard about a new place that just opened. It won’t be as good as the other place, you tell yourself. Still disappointed, you decide to give the new place a try. After all, you have to eat something. However, you discover that this new place is actually quite good. In fact, it might be better than the other place. Truthfully, you might just have a new favorite restaurant!
If you are like most people, if you reflect on your life, you can think of a few examples like this. You were content with things as they were. But things changed. You did not think the change would be good. However, you came to realize that the change was actually needed and beneficial.
None of the followers of Jesus seem to have understood that the crucifixion could bring about something good. They thought of Jesus’ death as something bad. At the time of the crucifixion, none of the followers of Jesus seem to conceive of their leader dying on a cross as a good thing. It didn’t fit with the program as they envisioned it. However, throughout the rest of the New Testament, we read about the blessings that come from Jesus’ death. Here are a just a few of them:
-At the cross, Jesus provides us with an enduring sacrifice (Hebrews 10:10).
-At the cross, Jesus provides us with an example of how to endure persecution (Hebrews 12:3-4).
-At the cross, Jesus provides us with an example of how to respond to suffering (1 Peter 2:21).
Of course, the cross also provides the opportunity for Jesus to be placed in the tomb—the tomb from which Jesus will be raised, overcoming death.
The earliest disciples could not fathom how the death of the Christ could be a good thing. But when we read through the rest of the New Testament, we discover that the disciples came to believe and understand that Jesus’ death is part of the plan. As part of God’s plan, it is a great blessing, indeed.
If our lives are primarily shaped by the truth of the crucifixion and resurrection, then we will see the world differently. Those instances which seem hopeless might actually contain hope. Those occasions which appear joyless might work to produce joy. Those things which do not make sense to us might just be part of God’s plan to bring about newness and hope.
At the time of the crucifixion, the disciples did not understand it. The pieces did not fit together in their minds until a later point in time. When things don’t make sense to us, we need to keep looking, keep praying, keep reflecting. It could be the case that our perspective needs to be more aligned with God’s perspective. Disappointment can be turned to joy when we acknowledge that God is the Father “of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:6).