“My summer plans had not gone how I had thought they would. I had envisioned working forty hours a week at a job that I loved, happily serving in a ministry during my free time, and in the rest of my spare time, relaxing by a pool or bonfire with friends. Instead, I was employed at several places, none of which I loved, and I was definitely not making the money that I needed to go back to school. When I wasn’t working, I was discouraged and struggled with a bad attitude. My summer had been a disappointment—and I didn’t know how to handle it.”
Disappointment seems to be hard for any Christian. We are told in the Bible over and over again to hope—in our salvation, in our God, in our future inheritance in Heaven. We’re expected to be joyful and set our standards high. So, when disappointment hits, it often crushes us. How do we handle it? Can we avoid it? Kristi Walker, a single missionary in Berlin, Germany, set out to answer these questions in her book Disappointment: A Subtle Path Away From Christ.
Disappointment in All Aspects of Life
Kristi defines disappointment as desires or expectations that are not met, but also realizes that it comes down to trusting God.
“This belief, or assumption, that God might withhold good from us or withhold his love from us is the reason disappointment was described in the introduction as deception. God is not the source of disappointment, nor could He be. It is contrary to His character…if you do believe in a Sovereign God, then disappointment is a feeling experienced by allowing yourself to doubt His goodness.” (p.2)
Instead of passing disappointment off as harmless stress, Kristi says that we should look at the root of it. Disappointment can lead many away from Christ, and each chapter covers a specific topic where we often experience disappointment. The book delves into topics such as marriage and singleness, family and relationships, and sickness and death. Her last chapter is titled, aptly, hope.
While I have never met Kristi, she and I share several things in common. (Find her story at the end of the book!) We both grew up in Iowa. We both have parents in the ministry and we both knew God had called us into missions from an early age. We’re both single, although we have an age difference of over a decade.
I too have experienced crushing disappointments and struggled to overcome it, much less find the root of it. So when I received this book as a birthday gift, I was interested to hear her perspective on it—especially since she was coming from a position that I already admired and respected. Would she challenge me to have lower expectations? Would she share a prayer or formula so I could try to avoid disappointment?
A Biblical Approach
What makes these 107 pages so intriguing is that Kristi pulls from personal experiences. There are many stories that help the reader relate. Even in situations where she might not have personal disappointment—such as the section on teaching your child how to handle disappointment—Kristi brings in quotations and exerts from other writers to make the book complete.
She writes from a humble position, sharing stories of weakness with humility, for the purpose of showing how God has worked in her life. Each chapter began with Scripture and several quotations from preachers or Christian authors.
That is the most important thing about this book. It is saturated with Scripture—there is hardly a page where a Bible verse isn’t quoted or passaged referenced. Kristi is not just sharing personal stories or advice on avoiding disappointment. This is not a step-by-step guide saying: “Do these three things and you will experience a disappointment-free life!” No, this is based solely on Scripture, and as such, it is very reliable.
This book is an easy read, written in a plain, straightforward style. I personally read it straight through in only a few hours, but each chapter has so much depth to it that it would be much better to read a chapter at a time. This will allow you to interact with the discussion questions and ponder the Scripture referenced. With eight chapters, it could easily be used for personal devotions or a Bible study. It is a handy tool for counseling and a resource, as well.
This book is enjoyable yet challenging, and the topic is one that has hardly been touched in the Christian nonfiction realm. You can order your own personal copy from OverboardMinistries.Com.