I am disappointed!!
Just in case you misunderstood that last statement, let me be clear: I am disappointed!!
Yes, I realize one should never start off a conversation, speech, sermon, letter, or this newspaper article in the negative. I know that I should try to be encouraging and uplifting, but I am disappointed!
Let me try to explain.
About nine months ago, I received an invitation to preach somewhere other than my home congregation for the whole month of June. I have preached many times in other locations for as much as a week at a time, but I have never been asked to preach anywhere for an entire month. Furthermore, this particular invitation was quite unique. It was not from some nearby city or state, as is normally the case. No, this invitation was for a place a bit farther away. I had been asked to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ on one of the islands in Hawaii.
First, my wife and I had to receive permission to take off an entire month from our normal duties. Next, we started working extra hours to get as much of our local work done as possible before we left so as to not burden anyone unnecessarily in our absence. Then, for months we took no time off from our jobs to save up enough vacation time for the trip. Finally, we saved every dollar we could to prepare ourselves for the cost of our upcoming adventure.
Then, COVID-19 happened.
As with many nations around the world, due to the coronavirus, our country came to a halt. Stores closed their doors, businesses shut down, and congregations stopped meeting at church buildings. That was the case with our 50th state, as well.
Hawaii’s governor issued an executive order that all travelers to the Hawaiian Islands (including fellow citizens of the United States) must self-quarantine immediately upon arrival in the state for 14 days. Those violating this order would be arrested and fined. At that point, to go on the trip would mean half our stay in paradise would be spent looking out of the windows from the inside of our accommodations.
Thus, our trip was canceled. In fact, as I write this very article, my wife and I should be on an airplane headed to the Pacific, but alas, we are not. Needless to say, I am disappointed!
Proverbs 13:12 reads, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” We would all love for everything in life to go the way we want it to go. We would all love for family, friends, and co-workers to never let us down. We would all love for this world to always do what is good and true and honorable. However, life is frequently disappointing. Our relationships are repeatedly disappointing. The world is too often disappointing. Is there any place to which we can turn that will not disappoint? Is there anyone to whom we can turn who will not disappoint?
Romans 5:3-5 reads, “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Despite the let-downs that seem to prevail all around us, there is one place where our hope can be sure. There is One Who will never let us down. He is the one, true God of the universe. His love for us is both unconditional and unending, and He gave up the life of His Son on a cross that you and I might believe it. For that, I will never be disappointed!
Remember, trips come and go, life has its ups and down, but the love of God will never, ever disappoint. Take hope in Him today.
Take time to “assemble” with us online! Sunday morning worship begins at 10 a.m. and Wednesday night Bible study begins at 7 p.m. (E.S.T.) on our YouTube channel (youtube.com/channel/UCRX8fs9RZ-On52Upt2U4tAw) and Facebook page (facebook.com/sebringparkwaychurchofchrist/).