On this day one hundred and sixty-eight years ago, the founders of the Christian denomination to which I belong experienced what has come to be known as the Great Disappointment. All day and all night on the 22nd of October in 1844 they waited for Christ’s literal return…By noon of October 23, most had come to realize that He had not come.
The greater the investment, the greater the disappointment.
Many, as a testament to their faith, sold everything they had. There are stories about potato farmers who did not harvest their crop since they wouldn’t be taking potatoes with them to heaven. Jesus’ imminent return wasn’t just a nice story for them – it shaped their lives!
As the day dawned and He wasn’t there, the disappointment was great. And you know haters gonna hate irrespective of how you feel. It was awful.
My parents taught me, from an early age, to put my trust in God and since God never fails, I really haven’t experienced very many disappointments in life (a privilege I thank God for!). Yet, though I wish I could say I have never been disappointed, that would be untrue.
Individuals have failed to meet expectations I was right to place on them but that they were powerless to meet without God’s help. Apologies and confrontations are part of the healing process but there’s just no quick fix…
The worst is when you’re disappointed in yourself! Because you can’t just take a time-out from being you and deal with it later. You’re just kinda stuck with yourself, you know…
Or when nobody’s really to blame because things just didn’t turn out how you’d hoped…
Then you go from disappointment to depression and fail to see the daybreak…
There were different responses to that disappointment 168years ago. Some gave up the hope of Christ’s return altogether. Some set themselves up for more disappointments by setting future dates. Some practiced the art of the revisionist historian. But some did what we all ought to do when facing disappointment.
Some turned to the God who never fails with their broken dreams and wounded hearts. Where did we go wrong? What did we miss? How do we move forward? And God had answers for all their questionings, as He has answers for all of ours!
On this day that commemorates a great disappointment that forms a part of my Christian heritage, I am so glad to know a God who knows how to handle my disappointments! I am thankful that we do not have a high Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He understands. And He will help us through our disappointments.
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