Disappointment is usually the result of unmet expectations. I re-learned some valuable lessons when we took our son, Shon, to Branson, Missouri in 2013.
Tom and I first visited Branson in October of 2012. The whole time we were there, I kept thinking: Shon has to experience this! It was everything he loves: lots of gospel and western music, patriotism, and a generally Christian feel to the place. So, we planned a trip for him as a birthday/Christmas present. For a year, I looked forward to watching Shon’s delight as he experienced it.
Shon started coming down with Bronchitis our second day there. He went steadily down hill. Even the handicapped bathroom he had most of the days wasn’t ideal, but it worked. The last two days he had to move into our room and that didn’t work at all. I’ll spare you the details, but Tom and I got quite a work out (especially Tom).
Shon was a trouper. I know that when I feel miserable, I’m not interested in doing much of anything. Praise the Lord, we had planned out the schedule so that all but one day, the earliest show was 2:PM. Only once did we have to go out at 11:AM. When we weren’t at a show, we were resting in the room. We only missed 2 1/2 shows (evenings) out of the eleven shows planned. We also only had one day of rain in the early morning so no shows were missed because of weather, and God kept us dry (answered prayer).
During some of the days, I read aloud to Shon (something I did often when he lived at home) and he really enjoyed that.
So, we watched God’s grace at work in giving us wisdom, patience, grace, physical strength, and time when we needed it. The biggest blessing for me happened on the way home. I had told God I wondered if Shon would have any fond memories of the trip or if he’d only remember all the trials and how sick he was. My greatest heartache was that perhaps, instead of being the wonderful experience I’d hoped for, it would be an unhappy memory for him.
On the flight home, out of the blue, Shon told me that, while the trip didn’t go the way we thought it would, he still saw God’s provision and strength through the help of family and prayer, and we made some nice memories. He said he saw teamwork in action. Hallelujah! Thank you, Lord! The Lord also miraculously kept Tom and me healthy and blessed us with a wonderful, restful week in up-state N.Y. two days later.
The best way to avoid disappointment is to have the correct expectations. The one expectation that will never disappoint us is if we expect that, in every situation, God will work everything out to His glory and our ultimate good.
It also helps to have an attitude of humble surrender. The Bible says, when making plans, remember to say Lord willing. Seek the Lord’s will, step out in faith and make plans, but be prepared to have His plans be different than ours! With that perspective, it’s much easier to rejoice in all circumstances.