Although it seems almost blasphemous to say it, the inspired record reveals to us that many times God’s people have been disappointed with Him! The children of Israel were so disappointed from the report of the 12 spies that they became desperate and missed their opportunity of going into the promised land. Nathaniel was disappointed when he first saw Jesus. See Selected Messages, vol. 1, 414.
“The disciples had been much disappointed that Jesus had not tried to secure the co-operation of the leaders in Israel. [Jesus was in a very similar circumstance to so-called independent ministries today. He refused to link up with the structure, and the disciples thought this was a big mistake and were disappointed in Him.] They felt that it was a mistake not to strengthen His cause by securing the support of these influential men.” Desire of Ages, 294.
“After their great disappointment in the death of Christ, their faith was not strong enough to accept the fact of the resurrection.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 205.
“Disappointment usually brings unbelief.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 84. If this is the case then why does God allow us to experience disappointment?
First we need to understand that God never disappoints His children. “He never disappoints His people.” Manuscript Release, vol. 18, 172. But He allows disappointments to come—”Test and trial comes to every child of God. The intensity of your love and fidelity will be tested by difficulties, disappointments, and trials. These your faith must overcome.” Manuscript Release, vol. 20, 229.
“God knows it is good for men to tread a hard and humble path, to encounter difficulties, to experience disappointments, and to suffer affliction. Faith strengthens by coming in conflict with doubt, and resisting unbelief through the strength of Jesus.” Signs of the Times, June 15, 1876.
Often our disappointments come because we mistake presumption for faith: “The path of faith lies close beside the path of presumption. Satan is ever seeking to lead us into false paths. He sees that a misunderstanding of what constitutes faith will confuse and disappoint. He is pleased when he can persuade men and women to reason from false premises.” Selected Messages, vol. 2, 5.
The disappointment of the disciples in 31 A.D. and the disappointment of the Adventists in 1844 were both the result of a misunderstanding of prophecy, actually a misunderstanding of a single word, in the first case, the word “kingdom” and in the second, the word “sanctuary.”
But the big question that we should ponder is not our disappointments which are often the result of unbelief or lack of faith or presumption or misunderstandings, but rather, we should ask the question, “Is my Lord disappointed in me”?
“Jesus was disappointed in His disciples.” 1888 Materials, 177. “Can the servant expect better treatment than was received by his Master? When we are disappointed in men, let us think how many times Jesus has been disappointed in those whom He came to save. How often He has sought fruit upon the figtree of His own planting, and found nothing but leaves!” Review and Herald, March 16, 1886. “The Lord Jesus is disappointed in His people. He is the Captain, they are to file under His banner.” General Conferences Bulletin, February 17, 1897.
“His soul was grieved that He was not appreciated by those He came to bless.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 108.
“The power of love was in all Christ’s healing, and only by partaking of that love, through faith, can we be instruments for His work. If we neglect to link ourselves in divine connection with Christ, the current of life-giving energy cannot flow in rich streams from us to the people. There were places where the Saviour Himself could not do many mighty works because of their unbelief. So now unbelief separates the church from her divine Helper. Her hold upon eternal realities is weak. By her lack of faith, God is disappointed and robbed of His glory.” Desire of Ages, 825.
“Let every one inquire, What is my condition before God? Is Jesus disappointed in me from year to year? Am I a fruitless tree in the Lord’s garden? It is not an orchard or a vineyard that is presented before us in the parable; it is a single tree. Its history is that it bore no fruit; its destiny is, to be cut down. The work of overcoming is an individual work. During the past summer many of our brethren have in various ways received additional light, and enjoyed precious privileges. This increased light only makes your cases more aggravated and your doom more certain, if fruit does not appear.” Review and Herald, January 12, 1886.