This week as part of my Bible Reading Plan I was reading in Acts 1 and came across some verses that got my sanctified mind thinking. Jesus had just ascended into heaven. The disciples were down to 11 instead of 12 because of Judas’ betrayal and they were looking to add another guy to their team. It came down to a choice between 2 people: Matthias and Barsabbas (also called Joseph). The 11 prayed, cast lots (a way that was used back then to determine God’s will), and chose Matthias – who then became one of the 12 disciples.
As I was pondering this I started thinking about what was NOT in the Bible. Namely, how Barsabbas must have felt to have not been chosen… again. I say “again” because he was not chosen the first go round when Jesus made his original selection. Acts 1:21-22 indicates that he had been hanging around with Jesus from the beginning of his ministry.
So this is the second time he dealt with not being chosen. Now if this were me I would have been very disappointed, and no doubt Barsabbas experienced disappointment as well. So how did he did he handle that disappointment? There is a right way and a wrong way to handle disappointment. Apparently he handled it well… again. He handled it well the first time because he continued to follow Jesus and the twelve for 3 years after Jesus’ initial selection of the twelve. He handled it well the 2nd time because church tradition indicates that he continued to minister in Christ’s name and was eventually martyred for his faith.
Here is a Pop Pop promise: You will face much disappointment in the course of your life and like Barsabbas others will be chosen at times over you even when you are just as qualified. So here are a few thoughts on constructive ways to handle disappointment.
Rejoice in the Lord’s sovereignty – As a believer, one of the great theological tenets of our faith is that God is in control. We can count on the fact that God knows what He is doing even when we do not. And therefore we can rejoice even when life is disappointing from our human perspective.
Rejoice with those who rejoice – We can be happy for other people when they are blessed in ways that we are not because we have confidence that God will also care for us according to His timetable – not ours.
Kill jealousy and envy in your heart – It is natural to be jealous of other’s success. But we are not called to live naturally. We are called to live supernaturally. John Owen has said, “be killing sin or it will be killing you.” When sin rears it’s ugly head in our life our job is to cut it off through confession, repentance, and a renewed commitment to pursuing holiness unto the Lord.
Continue to be faithful – When disappointment befalls us, the temptation is to want to give up and say what’s the point. But by God’s strength this is the time to step up your game and continue to do what the Lord has called you to do. He is working in your life through life’s disappointments. He is building your character and He will honor your faithfulness in due time.
Even though we don’t know much about Barsabbas, we know enough to follow his example in the wake of disappointment. Because rest assured, disappointments will be a regular part of your life.
Never ever forget that you are very loved!