By Evan Pyle


I think that nearly every young person has an idealized dream about where their life will take them. Undoubtedly, this is how the fairy tale has made its way into culture. I’m reminded of Snow White singing longingly, Some Day My Prince Will Come. Cinderella, in her miserable and oppressive circumstance, could still hope for a day when her fondest imaginations would be reality. In these fairy tales, the prince did come and they lived happily ever after. But for ordinary people, early dreams of a life of significance, love and meaning are shattered by the cruel realities of a life that has fallen far short of these dreams. I know I frequently heard my own inner voice mocking me. “Is that the best you can do? What happened to all those empty wishes?” Such disappointment settles on the heart like a wet blanket and takes the life out of our Christian testimony.

Job 21:23-26:
One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet.
24 His breasts are full of milk, and his bones are moistened with marrow.
25 And another dieth in the bitterness of his soul, and never eateth with pleasure.
26 They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them.

Job 10:1:
My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.

Have you experienced disappointment? It’s part of the human condition and you are not alone. The question is not whether we have disappointments, but how we handle them. I’m reminded of Elijah’s bitterness in the wake of Israel’s unbelief. He was so discouraged that he wished to die.

1 Kings 19:4:
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

In this situation, the Lord sent his angel to Elijah to strengthen him.

1 Kings 19:7:
And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.

Like Elijah, we must eat good, nourishing food for the journey of life that lies ahead. To walk our journey faithfully to the end, we must be strengthened by the Lord, for the journey is indeed too difficult for us to complete successfully in our own strength.

Jeremiah 15:16:
Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.

God’s Word ministers life to us. We need the ministry of God’s Word in our daily lives if we are going to go all the way to the finish line. God is not asking us to get strong, or to act as if we are strong. This business of “acting like we have it before we do” casts a sense of unreality on our Christian witness. God is calling on us to be genuine and real. If we will nourish ourselves in him, we will experience the joy of laboring in his strength, not acting as if we are strong enough for the task. Where did Job find the strength to live through his pain and bitterness?

Job 19:25-27:
For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

Job had a revelation of a future in God’s presence. He saw a literal fulfillment of Snow White’s adolescent musing. He saw the Prince of Peace standing on the earth in the future. This hope gave him courage to go on; to continue seeking God. In all of Job’s terrible trials he remained steadfast in his walk before God. “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” (Job 1:22). We, too, need a living hope if we are not to be overcome with disappointments. How many times have we been discouraged with ourselves for not living up to the standards God has given us? Paul expressed his frustration in this way:

Romans 7:24:
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

The source of his frustration is described in the following verses of Romans seven.

Romans 7:21-23:
I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

Indeed, until the time when the Lord makes all things new, nothing will be quite right. All things will remain out of balance until then.

Romans 8:22-23:
For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

So, there is no hope of life being the way we might have pictured in our fairest dreams. Jesus promised us that in the world we will have trouble. If that is as far as our faith takes us, we are most miserable. But, like Job, we have a hope of greater things, a revelation of the future that exceeds our imagination.

1 Corinthians 2:9:
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Psalm 42:5:
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

Isaiah 65:18:
But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.

Romans 12:12:
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Instead of being disturbed, disillusioned and distressed in our hearts, we have cause for joy and rejoicing, even in the midst of trouble. In one part of our heart, we “groan and travail” concerning the state of affairs in this present evil world. But, in another part of our heart we look to the future with the brightest hope and go on our way rejoicing. Satan desires for us to give up, and the sad fact, as well as the Biblical record, is that most do give up before crossing the finish line. It is sobering to think of all the great men of God who didn’t finish as they began. But remember all the great unnamed heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11, who though they were severely tested, proved themselves faithful to the end.

Philippians 2:16:
Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

Revelation 2:10:
Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

1 Peter 5:4:
And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.



From the October 2004 issue of The Vine & Branches