God is the God of the impossible. In some cases, believers are to sit back, trust, and wait while they watch His glory
pass by. Other times He invites His people into the process. Disappointment has the potential to be God’s invitation for our participation.
In Exodus 14:15 the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.” The escape from Egypt was not easy. This exodus was unfolding in unexpected ways. The Israelites were afraid and ready to turn back. The Lord wanted the Israelites to move forward. He wanted them to participate in their exit plan, even though they were discouraged and distraught.
My friend Nina told me about an experience a newly graduated high school senior had with disappointment.
As a senior, this student was making college plans. Her counselor recommended she apply to one school; she chose to
apply to another. Once she applied to the school of her choice, she was accepted. Covid delayed her ability to visit the school.
After acceptance, she was able to fully checkout the school. She felt discouraged and disappointed. Her post high school life was not looking like she pictured. The school was not what she expected. It was definitely not for her.
She needed prayer and wise counsel. She reached out to Nina. They had a bond. They had been praying together for
most of the school year.
“Mrs. Hinds, I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to attend this school. I won’t get into another. It’s too late. I want to apply to the school my counselor recommended. I feel embarrassed to tell him this because I didn’t follow his advice.”
Nina encouraged the young woman to move forward, to push past the embarrassment. She arranged a Zoom meeting
for the three of them to come up with a strategy. Knowing Nina would be a part of the conversation helped dissolve some of the discomfort the young woman was experiencing. As God would have it, the counselor had a relationship with the faculty at the school the student was now interested in attending. Not only was he an alum but he had also previously been on staff at the school.
It was May 30th and the applications were due June 1st. The counselor called the school and suggested they consider
this student. The young woman did her part and got her financial paperwork together.
She was accepted and she received a scholarship. Nina and the young graduate reflected on the disappointment and
then the resolution to that disappointment. Embarrassment could have prevented forward motion. As it turned out, the disappointment led to a God appointment.
Just as the Israelites needed to move on, move forward, so did this student. To claim hope in disappointment or
discouragement, sometimes God invites us to join Him in the process. When we participate with Him, resilience is built and confidence strengthened.
“We are living through an epidemic of anxiety and loneliness. The first step to addressing these huge issues is to talk about them and share our personal stories. Lori Wildenberg is our trusted guide as she shares stories from her family and beyond that give us the gift of “going first.” She then offers practical approaches to parents, or anyone walking alongside someone struggling, on how to help our young people re-center on the truth God offers. Messy Hope is a book about honesty; getting honest about both the mess of our actual lives and the hope found in God’s promises. You will be better equipped to love people by reading this book.”
About the Author
Lori Wildenberg, mom of a daughter who has wrestled with depression, is passionate about helping parents help their children navigate a messy life. Lori is a licensed parent and family educator, national speaker, and author or coauthor of six parenting books, including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home and The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections, as well as being a freelance writer for Christian parenting magazines and the cohost of Moms Together podcast.