Archive for October, 2014

“Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.” Romans 15:4 (NLT)

A friend of mine used to say with tongue-in-cheek, “Blessed is he who expecteth nothing, for he shall not be disappointed!”

Recently I’ve been doing some thinking on the subject of disappointment. If I’m honest, deep feelings of disappointment have been hounding me for a long time in these middle years of life. I doubt that I’m unique in this but I find inner tapes playing in my head which repeatedly say things like –

Is this all I’ve accomplished up to this point in my life?

Is the rest of my life going to be all downhill from here?

Why hasn’t my life “turned out better”? (as if I’m a good judge of this!)

Is this all I get after putting this much effort into _______?

In my journal I began to list a number of things that I was personally disappointed about. I then saw certain common denominators surface –

  • Some of my disappointments related to things that were largely out of my control
  • Often I was disappointed by my own choices made in the past and now having to live with the consequences
  • I had to admit being disappointed with God for not coming through for me in ways that I had “expected” of Him

The whole area of disappointment says so much about our inner lives and expectations.

When I was younger I had many “aspirations” but probably not enough goals. When we set our sights on something and yet don’t have a determined plan with personal goals to accomplish them we can grow disgruntled and have many regrets. I’m learning that this is a reminder to set personal goals to reach new targets. It’s all in the process of becoming the person God designed us to be in the first place.

As long as we are alive (and in reasonably good health) the potential exists for us to set new goals instead of living with regrets and disappointment. Perhaps what we need is renewal and refocus when darkness seems to creep in upon us.

Often the good things we expect to come our way don’t materialize and instead we are landed with a set of circumstances that we didn’t anticipate.

We expect good health and end up with illness.

We expect a happy marriage and end up in a difficult relationship or even single.

We expect children and end up barren.

We expect a satisfying job and end up unemployed.

We expect our children to do well and they struggle.

And the list goes on.

We look to our own accomplishments and to people and things around us to give life meaning and fulfillment. When we don’t get what we think we want – or what we expected to have – we become disillusioned. It also doesn’t help when we observe others who seem to be enjoying the things that we so deeply desire and don’t presently have.

After doing a short survey I found that the Bible, my source of ultimate truth, says very little about “expectations” but says a great deal about hope and waiting for God.

I’m beginning to realize that disappointment is a human trait that God uses in our lives. We were definitely created for something “more” than what we are currently experiencing. The Biblical concept of hope is a tremendous antidote to the poison of disappointment.

As noted above the Apostle Paul once said, “Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.”

It just might be that God is there for us more than anyone else and anything else when we experience failure, disappointment and disillusionment. We have far more than we realize in the personal relationship He offers us through Jesus Christ His Son.

Expectations are that in upcoming posts we will learn more about how God uses the disappointments in our lives to bring us to a deeper appreciation of Himself and a different perspective on our place in His wonderful plans.

When we begin to place all our hopes, dreams, and aspirations in God’s hands the potential exists for us to live a different life than we “expected.” I find myself having to recommit to the process every day.

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If I were to rebel today where would that leave me tomorrow?

I am today where I came from yesterday and the day before.

Today I find myself at odds with the man I am and the man I wish to be.


Rebellion does me no good but feels like freedom in the moment

I can go there in my mind without the pain of consequence

I can also stay with You and choose to enjoy the fruits of our relationship.


If I were to rebel today I know You would be there with me, and you would be there tomorrow.

Like many men I struggle to feel Your presence,

It makes the rebellion easier to justify but does nothing to soothe the consequences of my poor choices.


If I were to trust You today and see beyond momentary gratification,

I could experience a better life free from condemnation.


If I were to praise You today and consider my high position,

the foolish ways of selfish rebellion would fade into insignificance.


The choice is mine and the fruits are mine to enjoy.

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“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT)

When it comes to winning formulas we can often overlook the obvious.

Since Team USA was soundly defeated by the Europeans at this year’s Ryder Cup there’s been a lot of speculation as to why this was the case. The simple answer is that Europe’s Ryder Cup team simply played better golf. I suppose that’s the bottom line.

There’s also been a great deal of discussion as to why the Europeans outperformed the Americans when both teams had the talent to win. We can always point to the momentum of Team Europe who won the past several events and the advantage of being on home turf. But often in golf, as in other sports, it’s much more difficult to maintain a lead than it is to overtake a leader.

Watching the event there was no doubt that the Europeans were an inspired group of men but most sports commentators point to the fact that the Irishman Paul McGinley was a far superior team leader for the Europeans than Tom Watson was for the Americans.

Having lived in Ireland for the past thirty-one years, learning the culture that Paul McGinley grew up in and having observed his career over the years I have a better understanding of why the Europeans outperformed the Americans.

Quite simply the Europeans under McGinley’s direction played as a cohesive team.

One thing that Americans can often overlook about the Irish and several other European cultures is that by nature it’s relational. By and large people matter more than “projects.”

Close and key relationships often have significant ramifications when it comes to results.

McGinley lived out his relational strengths, won the confidence of his players over time, and drew them into a cohesive unit that proved unbeatable. After the Europeans won at Gleneagles Shane Ryan of Golf Digest noted that earlier this year Paul McGinley came alongside young Victor Dubuisson of France, a seemingly complex young man, knowing that he might play a significant role on the team.

Ryan wrote, “McGinley, who treated his captain’s role with an obsessive, conscientious zeal since being named in January 2013, made it his business to understand the young Frenchman . . . But with time and persistence, by showing up at tournaments and corporate functions where he knew Victor would be present, he broke through the barriers, earned Victor’s trust, and conveyed everything he learned to Graeme McDowell.”

As it turned out it was time well spent.

When it comes to sports and to life we often look too closely at individual achievement and neglect the relational aspects of teamwork and camaraderie. The Sky Sports commentators I watched such as Darren Clarke and Colin Montgomery made a strong case, one very apparent to the viewer, that the Europeans were much more committed to each other as a team than were the Americans. McGinley was the embodiment of these strong, relational values.

I also see this very clearly in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ who drew a group of men around Him, invested His life in them and then released them into the world through the power of the Holy Spirit. The result was that they literally changed the world.

In western culture we can fall into the trap of thinking that it’s our individual performance that makes the difference when it’s our relationships with God and each other that usually determines our success or failure in life, in sports, in church or business.

What came across very clear at the Ryder Cup was that the Europeans were already ahead in terms of their support for Paul McGinley and each other before the first ball was ever teed up. That’s a winning formula that will bear fruit regardless of the final score.

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