Disappointment doesn’t define your destiny. It is the shaping of your character, preparing you for what you are not yet ready for, but has always been yours for the taking. My own story is fraught with what I thought was a slammed door to something I would never reach, but God is a keeper of promises and His ways are not mine, thank the Lord! However, I could have let those moments lock me down into believing the lie that I have to settle and stop dreaming big dreams with God. In the past, when I had fallen into this way of thinking, I would instinctually say things like, “I can’t,” or “this never works out for me.”

In John 5, we see the story of Jesus healing the lame man, by the pool of Bethesda. It was an environment full of the sick, lame, and blind. I can imagine that every one there was probably feeding into the Spirit of Eeyore, like gangbusters. It was likely a place dry of hope, yet was named, Bethesda, which literally means, “Place of Outpouring.” When Jesus came across this sick man, who had been lame for thirty-eight years, “He asked him, ‘Would you like to get well’” (5:5-7). This question is important, because a lifetime of disappointment and loss can trick us into accepting it as our lot in life. You feel comfortable with what you know, and forget what is really yours, as an heir.

Jesus knows that when we let disappointment become our identity, we begin to stop longing for anything else, so Jesus has to ask the question, "Would you like to get well?” (John 5:6) The man responds, “I can’t … “For have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone always gets there ahead of me” (5:7). Its crazy that this guys first response wasn’t, “YES! I WANT TO BE HEALED!” Rather, the first words out of his mouth were, “I can’t.” He then followed it with, “someone always.” After thirty-eight years of feeling like the rug has been pulled out from under his feet, this man only looks at the circumstances of his life through the lens of what he can do, or others do to him. 

When the Lord shows up and asks, “Do you want more? Do you want to be whole and walk into the promise of your life?” You might say “Yes,” but then immediately start to throw out excuses for why it won’t happen. Don’t let memories of how things have been, overshadow the childlike imagination to believe that with God nothing is impossible (Matthew 19:26). All those moments where it seemed like the weight of disappointment was going to crush you, God was placing those things under your feet, each one a new step leading you up to a higher view of all He has for you. Each difficult circumstance meant to be a memorial to God’s faithfulness. Your story doesn’t end with you watching on the sideline as others receive an “outpouring,” because your story doesn’t end at all! God redeems all things for His glory, and your story is eternally marked by one glory to the next! All that was intended to harm you, God will use for good (Genesis 50:20). Disappoint doesn’t define your destiny, because God already has!