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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro

When We Have to Disappoint Others

Seek [God's] will in all you do, and He will direct your paths. - Proverbs 3:6 NLT

It was one of those days when I wished I could be in two places at the same time. My older son was performing at a music festival to benefit a local Christian coffeehouse, and I wanted to be there for him. It was also a perfect day to visit my mother, who has lived alone since my father died. A visit to her involves almost three hours of traveling time on the road, so I don't get to see her as much as I'd like. Several weeks had already passed since our last visit together. For days I had been praying and seeking the Lord about where He wanted me to be that day. I finally decided to go see my mom, knowing that my son would be terribly disappointed. Hearing the disappointment in my son's voice, I began to feel "torn." This feeling was so real and overwhelming that I actually got out my dictionary and looked up the word "torn" to see how it would be defined. I found phrases like "pulled apart by force," "wounded by tearing," and "divided or disrupted by the pull of contrary forces." That's exactly how I felt.

The fact is that we can't be in two places at the same time, so there will be times when we have to make tough choices. Many times, we won't be able to avoid disappointing people--even people who are very special to us. But I believe that if we'll seek God, as the Scripture above advises us, we will be in the right place at the right time, and we can leave the consequences to Him. When I chose to visit my mother, I asked the Lord to speak to my son's heart and help him understand my decision. If we allow guilt and condemnation to torment us every time we choose to be with one person over another, we aren't going to be much good to the person we're with. In addition, the Lord's not likely to honor us for taking the time to "be there" for someone if we don't do it with a right attitude. After I heard the disappointment in my son's voice, I was tempted to resent my mother. I immediately resisted those feelings, and prayed for God's grace.

What about when we're the ones being disappointed because others aren't "there" for us? While it's all right for us to share our feelings of disappointment with those who let us down, it's not right for us to indulge in self-pity or hold grudges against them. It's wiser for us to take our disappointment and grievances to God, and ask Him to give us the comfort and consolation we need. If it's a case of someone close to us continually disappointing us, it may be right for us to ask God to change their hearts and help them be more considerate and attentive. Today, my prayer for you is that you'll begin seeking the Lord each day and asking Him, "Lord, where do YOU want me to be?" If you do, you can be sure He'll direct your steps in the paths of His greatest blessings!

Prayer: Lord, help me to seek Your will for each day so that You'll direct my steps as You've promised. When others are disappointed as a result, I ask that You comfort them and give them understanding. When I'm the one being disappointed, encourage my heart and help me to respond the way You want me to. Thank You that as long as I seek You, I'll always be in the right place at the right time!

- J. M. Farro


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