Hope isn’t anchored in the things of this world, but in the character of God. That’s why hope never fails! Disappointment is meant to be a temporary emotion, not a permanent perspective. In this message we learn how to deal with the disappointments of circumstances by looking at the story of Joseph.
Alright, hey everybody. Welcome to Valley Creek Church. I am so glad that you are here with us today. Whatever campus or location you might be at today, can we just welcome each together for a moment? We are so glad that you are here with us and you picked a great weekend to come because across all of our campuses, 122 people got baptized this weekend. 122 that declared Jesus as Lord and they will follow, 122 people that went from death, to life and I love the way that we did baptisms this time. It was so fresh to just worship and remind ourselves that this is what God does. He reaches into heart and broken hearts and He restores them and gives them life. You see, we are on a mission with Jesus to seek and save the lost. Our vision is to simply help people take a next step on their journey with Jesus from lost, to becoming a kingdom of leader.
And it’s in weekends like this where we remind ourselves that this is what it is all about and this is what we do. So I just want to say to you. I do – I just want to say thank you for doing what you do. Thanks for inviting people, thanks for serving people, thanks for leading people, thanks for giving generously. Everything we do is all about helping people who don’t know Jesus, find the life-saving grace, love, and hope of the goodness of God. So this is a great weekend to celebrate who He is, and what He has done. Alright, we are in a message series called Disappointed and we kicked it off last week. And we’re talking about finding hope in the midst of life. And this is a really big series. It’s really full. I feel like it’s really timely. In a sense, what I’m trying to do is take one message and kind of spread it out over four weeks so it’s really this one big concept that we’re talking about and we’re just trying to thread it week to week and we kicked it off last week by just saying, “Okay. What is disappointment and where does it come from?”
And we say, “You have to take the word, ‘disappointed’ and just break it down.” “Disappoint” literally means, “To miss an appointment.” “Disappoint” means, “To miss an appointment,” so disappointment is an appointment you set that doesn’t come to pass. It’s an unmet expectation, an unfulfilled desire, something you thought was going to take place and it didn’t happen that way. And so, most disappointment in our lives simply comes from unmet expectations. This is your expectation, this is what happens, and this is the level of disappointment that you feel. Like this is what you expected that you were going to have for breakfast this morning, and this is what you actually had, and this is the level of disappointment because your coffee was cold or whatever it might be, right? Like this is your expectation of a situation, and this is what happens in that situation, and this is the level of disappointment that you will feel. And what’s interesting about disappointment is how wide the spectrum can be. Like we can be disappointed over a bad meal and we can be disappointed over a broken marriage.
Disappointment is real and it is a part of life. The question is not whether or not disappointment will come. The question is, what are you going to do when it does come? And how you handle disappointment will determine the quality of your life and the condition of your heart because a disappointed heart will always live a defeated life. It’s impossible to walk in victory with a heart full of disappointment. In fact, unresolved disappointment will lead to an unfulfilled destiny. If we don’t learn how to deal with disappointment in a godly way, we’ll never experience the abundant life that God has for us. You see, what I’m trying to tell you is, Satan cannot steal your destiny, but he wants to disappoint you to the place where you give up on your own destiny.
He can’t take your future, he can’t take your life, he has no authority over your destiny. But he wants to disappoint you to the place where you just give up on your own destiny. He wants to steal your hope. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes a heart sick.” In other words, when life doesn’t go the way we expect, we lose our hope. And when you lose your hope, you end up with a sick heart. And a sick heart doesn’t have the strength to buy faith, step into the future that God has in store for it.” And a lot of us have a sick heart and we don’t even know it. You see, we lose our hope from wave after wave after wave after wave of disappointment that rolls into our lives. Like the waves of the ocean, disappointment rolls in over and over and over again and it eventually, erodes our hope. It’s that bad doctor’s report that never changes no matter how much you try, no matter how much you do, no matter how much medicine you take. It doesn’t seem to change. It’s that problem that you’ve had in your marriage for the past 20 years that never seems to get resolved. It’s setback after setback after setback. It’s the breakthrough that never seems to come. It’s the growing list of unanswered prayers. Wave after wave after wave of disappointment eventually erodes your hope.
But here is the deal. Hope never dies. We just lose sight of it. In fact, hope can’t die because hope is a person and his name is Jesus and he already defeated death. Our problem is, we look at the temporary instead of the eternal, we get focused on the physical instead of the spiritual, and what you have to remember is that hope is not, “I hope the weather will be nice today.” Hope is the confident expectation of the goodness of God. It’s the belief in the goodness of God in the midst of our unmet expectations and the pain of our lives even when we can’t see it or feel it. Hope is not anchored in the things of the world. Hope is anchored in the character of God that’s why it doesn’t fail. Romans 5:5 says, “Hope does not disappoint us.” Here’s what I want you to understand. Heavenly hope and earthly disappointment cannot co-exist. Hope does not disappoint us. Heavenly hope and earthly disappointment cannot co-exist because they sit on the same seat in your heart.
And so, what hope does is that it displaces disappointment, but sometimes we allow disappointment to displace hope. Disappointment is meant to be a temporary emotion, not a permanent perspective. Hope is meant to be a permanent perspective, not a temporary emotion. And if you will look at hope through disappointment, you’ll always be disappointed. But if you look at disappointment through hope, you’ll always have hope. And any time that you allow disappointment to displace the hope of your heart, that is a place you’re believing a lie. It’s a place where you’re in agreement with the kingdom of darkness. Any place in your life where you no longer confidently expect the goodness of God, is a place where you’re living a defeated life. So here is my question for you. Where have you lost your hope? Your Life, where have you lost it? We started last week and we just said that really, what disappointment is it’s a test. It’s a test to expose, and reveal, and heal the things within us. When disappointment comes, we want to fix it, but God wants to free us.
He wants to confront every area of your life where your hope is in anything but Him. And the truth is it’s easy to pass the test when you know it’s coming. It’s hard to pass the test that you’re not expecting. And so, in this series, what we’re saying we’re doing, that’s why it’s one big series is, I’m not trying to make you feel better about your disappointment. What I’m trying to help us understand is that we have to learn to find hope in the midst of disappointment because that is the pathway to your destiny. If you’re going to get from where you are to where God wants to take you, you’re going to have to learn to deal with the valleys of disappointment without it stealing your hope or you’ll never get from where you are to where he’s taking you, which is why unresolved disappointment will lead to an unfulfilled destiny, because you won’t get from here to there, without hope.
Now, if you were here last week and you said, “Did you really need to just say all that again?” The answer to your question is, “Yes, we really needed to say all of that again, because most of us have no idea what disappointment really is and what heavenly hope is really all about.” So you have to start there. And what we’re doing is we’re taking a look at the life of Joseph, on Old Testament hero of the faith and Genesis. And Joseph is a great picture of our life because Joseph experienced wave after wave of disappointment and yet he finds hope. He didn’t like what was happening around him or to him, determined the hope within him. And so Joseph experienced the fullness of his destiny, the way few of us ever do. He believed that every disappointment wasn’t a setback that it was an invitation to find hope and God. So he got where God wanted him to go and that’s our hope for each other.
You see, we started last week by saying the first test Joseph had to deal with, was disappointment with people and I know I gave you a lot last week. And so here’s my encouragement if you won’t hear it, go online and watch it. If you did, take — go back and work through it, because if you don’t feel like — figure out how to deal with disappointment with people, it doesn’t matter if you catch anything else in the rest of the series, because that’s where it all starts. The second thing that Joseph had to deal with was disappointment with circumstances. Like if you remember the story of Joseph, one day, he’s just walking along and his brothers hated him. So they grabbed Joseph, rip off his robe, throw him in a pit, tell his father that he was killed by ferocious animals and sell him to slave traders. And so Joseph ends up in Egypt.
Genesis 39:1, “Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. His brother sold him. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.” So Joseph is now a slave in Egypt. And he’s bought by this guy named Potiphar, he starts serving him. And because Joseph’s totally engaged and believed God has a destiny for his life, he serves Potiphar incredibly well, the favor of God is upon him, he’s blessing Joseph’s life even though he’s a slave. And then one day Potiphar’s wife makes a pass at Joseph. But Joseph rejects her, runs out of the house, she’s so mad about it, she spins the story, tells Potiphar that Joseph made a pass at her. Potiphar’s furious about, throws him in prison. Genesis 39:20, “Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined.” And as you read the story of Joseph, you think this guy’s life just goes from like bad to worst. I’m sure there’s a whole lot of days where Joseph woke up in the morning and he thought to himself, “You have got to be kidding me.”
I’m sure there’s a whole lot of nights he cried himself to sleep. I’m sure there was a whole lot of days that it took everything within him just to make it through the day. You see, like Joseph, you’re going to deal with disappointing circumstances. You’re going to have seasons where you say, “Why is this happening? Where did this come from? What did I do wrong? Why won’t this change? Where is God?” Seasons where the world around you is going to want to create chaos within you, where the disappointing circumstances are going to try to steal the hope of your heart. And so the question is, is what circumstances are you disappointed in and how do you deal with it? Do you get angry? Do you fight back? Do you blame other people? Do you give up? Do you cash out? Do you just kind of check out from everything? Do you numb your pain? Like, what do you do? Maybe there’s a better way.
Maybe there’s a godly way to deal with this disappointing circumstances so we can get from where we are to where God is taking us. And like I told you last week, this is isn’t a series where I necessarily want you to take a bunch of notes, it’s where I’m just trying to talk to your heart. Okay? So can you open up your heart and let me just walk you through. Here’s how Joseph dealt with disappointing circumstances and how we can walk in victory in that space. You with me on that? The first thing is this, remember God is with you. No matter what kind of circumstance you’re dealing with today, God is with you. Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” If God is with me, He is for me, and if He is for me, who can be against me? And just speaking that into the atmosphere breathes hope into our lungs. Doesn’t it? I’m sure there’s lots of days where Joseph thought, “I don’t feel like God is with me.
In fact I think God is mad at me. Like look at my life, that God ain’t with me, I actually think he’s got it out for me.” Days where Joseph felt like God was a million miles away. Okay, have you ever felt like that? I have. And as the serious circumstances seem to get worse, listen to what it says about Joseph. Joseph — Genesis 39, “Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there. He was a slave and yet the Lord was — say it with me — with Joseph and he prospered.”
Genesis 39:20, “When he’s in prison, Joseph’s master took him and put him into prison…” falsely accused, now he’s in prison. It’s bad if you’re a slave, it’s even worse if you’re falsely accused and now you’re a slave in prison. “…the place where the king’s prisoners were confined. But while Joseph was there in prison, the Lord was — say it with me — with him. He showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those he held in prison and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.”
It’s like the worst circumstances got the more tangible God’s presence became in Joseph’s life. The Lord was with Joseph and He is with you. How would those verses read in your life? You lost your job and the Lord was with you. Your heart was broken, and the Lord was with you. You were rejected by your friends and the Lord was with you. You’re in a season that you want desperately out of and yet the Lord is with you. You see, circumstances are not a determiner of whether or not God is with us. We make judgments about the closeness of God based on the quality of the circumstances in our lives. We think if things are good, God is close. If things are bad, God is far. But the truth is, the presence of a problem does not mean the absence of God.
It doesn’t matter how disappointed you are in your circumstances, God is still with you. Like Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Do understand that is a promise God cannot break because he already left Jesus on the cross so he can no longer forsake you. Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” In other words, the worst your circumstances are, the more tangible God’s presence becomes in your life. All right, listen to this, Mark 4, I love this, Jesus and his disciples. It says, “That day when evening came, Jesus said to the disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’ Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along just as we has in the boat. There were also other boats with him. And a furious squall, a storm, came up and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern sleeping on cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’ He got up, rebuked the wind and the wave. ‘Quiet, be still.’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm, and he said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?'”
Jesus takes the disciples, puts them in a boat, declares, “We’re going to the other side.” And as they start going across the sea, a big storm comes. And as the big storm comes and the boat begins to get swamped, the disciples panicked and they looked at Jesus and they say, “Don’t you care?” And then what we say, “Don’t you care about what’s happening in my life, and in my heart, and in my relationships?” And Jesus looks right back at the disciples and he says, “Why have you lost your hope? I am right here.” You see, the presence of a storm does not mean the absence of God. And the presence of God does not mean there won’t be any storms. You can be disappointed in your circumstances and yet God is still with you. And just because God is with you, doesn’t mean you won’t be disappointed in your circumstances. Like sometimes, God will send you in the circumstances you don’t want to go into, to give you the hope that you need. We are not supposed to have our hope in circumstances, we’re supposed to have our hope in His presence. If your hope is in circumstances, you will always be disappointed. If your hope is in His presence, you never will be. So in Psalm 23:4 says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me. He is with us in every valley of disappointment which means hope is never beyond reach.
So, the question is this, are you aware of his presence? Or are you more aware of your disappointment? You see, we have to remember is that God is always more interested in changing us than he is in changing the circumstances. I hate to break that to you today. It’s just like, for me too, it’s like hard to come out of my mouth. Like, “Oh.” But it’s true. We want God to change what’s happening around us, God wants to change what’s happening within us. So what happens in disappointing circumstance, God moves in real close and he invites us to put our hope in Him. 2 Corinthians 4 says it like this, “Therefore, we don’t lose heart — we don’t lose hope. Though outwardly we are wasting away, though our circumstances are beyond disappointing, inwardly, we are being renewed day by day, we’re growing in hope. For our light and momentary disappointments are achieving for us an eternal glory, a hope that outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on the disappointment, but on Jesus. For the disappointment is temporary but Jesus is forever.” He says, “Hey.”
He says, “Hey, I know you’re disappointed. Look at me because I’m filling you with hope. Why are disappointed?” A job, your marriage, your health, maybe your life. He says, “I’m with you and I’m giving you hope.” I mean, in Genesis 29:2, Joseph, the guy who’s sold into slavery and tossed into prison, hadn’t done anything wrong, says, “The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered.” Prospered. The best — the Bible’s definition of prosper. I’m good to not prosper. What did he prosper in? He prospered in hope. Joseph actually prospered more in the pit and in prison than he did in the pasture. The disciples prospered more in the storm than they did on shore. And the same is true for you and I. You see, when God is with you, you prosper. I mean, a better way of saying it, when you are aware that God is with you, you prosper. You say, “Well, how is that possible?” Like, you can thrive in any circumstance. You say, “Yeah, but that feels like a contradiction.” No, it’s not a contradiction because see, you’re prospering in hope. You’re prospering in humility, you’re prospering in character, you’re prospering in trust, in dependence, in joy, in the fruit of the spirit, and resting in God.
You might not prosper in what you want to prosper in, but you will prosper in what you need to prosper in. You prosper in what you need the most when things are the hardest. That’s why the Bible says, “We go from glory to glory and victory to victory regardless of the circumstances.” So maybe, just maybe we should stop asking God to change our circumstances and start asking him to change us. Like, you realize life is not always like this linear line. Everything is not up into the right. You know that right? You learned that somewhere along the way. What is life if it’s not all up into the right? Life is peaks and valleys, ups and downs, toss and turn. When you’re in the valley, don’t lose your hope because hope grows in the valley of disappointment. And when you’re in the mountain top, don’t put your hope in the mountain top. You’re hope is in him. It don’t matter what kind of circumstance you’re in today, you can prosper in hope because he is with you. Okay. Are you with me on that?
Okay. Second thing is this, get a hold on to God’s promises. The worst had gotten Joseph’s life, the more he held on to the promises of God. Like catch this, Genesis 37, “Joseph had a dream.” Okay, this isn’t like the dream that you and I have when we eat bad pizza at 11 o’clock at night. You just got that creepy stuff, you know, in your mind, like, that’s not what we’re talking about here. Joseph had a dream, literally could be reinterpreted as the dream had Joseph. It was a divine dream from God that was literally a promise for his life. Joseph had a dream, a promise from God, that had him, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had from God, we were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose up and stood upright while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” No wonder Joseph’s brothers hated him. He’s like, “Listen to the promise I have from God. You’re all going to serve me. I’m going to be the ruler and it’s going to be awesome.” Okay. But it was a promise from God or how about Psalm 105 “God sent a man before them. Joseph, sold as a slave. They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, until what he foretold came to pass, until the word of the Lord proved him true.” In other words, when Joseph was in the pit, when he was a slave, when he was prisoned, he held on to the promise of God until it came to vast. No matter how bad the circumstances were, the promises of God stirred hope within his heart. Yeah, his circumstances were bad, but they had no authority over the promises God had made. Yeah, you’re circumstances might be bad, they have no authority over the promises God has made.
Remember the word disappointed, literally means to miss an appointment. There are lots of appointments in life that you and I set that don’t come to pass. Every appointment God sets always comes to pass. There is no disappointment with God because if God appoints it to happen, it will take place. It just might not take place in your timetable. 2 Corinthians says it like this, “No matter how many promises God has made, they are a ‘Yes’ in Christ.” Or how about the story that we just read of the disciples in Mark 4:35, “Jesus says, ‘Let us go to the other side.'” The moment he says, “Let’s go to the other side,” they are getting to the other side no matter what happens. It didn’t matter how big the storm got, it didn’t matter how much the boat was flooding. They were getting to the other side because Jesus set an appointment and it was going to come to pass.
No circumstance can undermine the promises of God in their life. You see, what I’m trying to tell you is that truth is always superior to fact. I want you to think about this for a moment. Truth is always superior to fact. There are facts and there is truth. Fact is what you can see, taste, touch, smell, look at, prove to yourself. Truth is the superior realities of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let me illustrate it for you. Fact was Joseph was imprisoned. Truth was he was going to rule that nation. For the disciples, fact was the boat was sinking. Fact. Truth was they were making it to the other side no matter what. How about you? Fact might be you’ve got a bad doctor’s report. Truth is by His stripes you have been healed. Fact might be you can’t pay your bills. Truth is He will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Fact might be you’re alone. Truth is He will never leave you nor forsake you. Fact might be your life feels like it’s in a total mess. Truth is God is working all things together for the good. Fact might be you are stuck right now. Truth is God is already making a way. Fact is this is impossible.
Truth is with God, all things are possible. Your circumstances are fact. God’s hope is truth. And it’s so easy to stand up and say that until you get in the pain of the disappointment of that circumstance. It’s people who walk through pain and yet don’t lose their hope in God that can declare the truth of God is superior to the facts of the world. Until then, it’s just nice theory, isn’t it? I mean that’s why in Matthew 4:17, Jesus says, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” What he’s basically saying is, “Stop looking at the facts of the world and start looking at the truth of heaven.” We have lives full of facts. We need hearts full of truth. And how do you get a heart full of truth? You got to get a promise from God. There are general promises that are for all of us.
There are specific promises that God has for you. You got to find one, you got to grab it, you got to write it down, and you got to memorize it, you got to meditate on it, you got to put it on your phone home screen, you got to write it on a Post-It note and put it on your dashboard. Everywhere you go, you got to declare it because you don’t want to define your life by facts. You want to live your life by truth. I mean, I remember years ago, when I lived in Colorado and I was in graduate school and I lived in this little concrete basement that I rented from a guy for 200 bucks a month. I had a futon and everything I owned was in like a Rubbermaid bin and it was a lonely and disappointing season. I was so lonely and I was so disappointed. And every day, I would have to drive from Colorado Springs to Denver about an hour drive to go to school and man, that’s just lonely. And I remember one day, about halfway, there’s this little town called Castle Rock. I stopped and had a cup of coffee and I was just reading my Bible. And as I was reading along, I got to Genesis 2:18. It talks about Adam and Eve and God says, “It is not good for man to be alone.”
“I will create a suitable helper for him.” And I don’t know how to explain it to you in any other way than that day like it jumped off the pages, hit me in the heart and I felt like it was God saying, “I see that you feel like you’re alone but I’m already working — pulling — putting someone together for you.” And I remember it was like, “Oh my goodness, I memorized it, I meditated on it, I wrote it down and I quoted it. And every day when I would drive that out, I would like declare it back to the Lord, you know. I’d be like, “Lord, you said it’s not good for me to be alone.” “I’m ready for a girlfriend. Is today the day?” You know. Yeah. “No, today is not the day. But keep quoting it.”
Because that’s what we think. You think, “Oh, we got a promise from God, we had a nice church service. It’s going to happen tomorrow.” No. Part of the whole point of God giving you promises instead of the resolution in the moment is so you can learn to trust in him in the midst of that disappointment. So a year goes by and then I meet Colleen. A year. Fact was, I was alone. Truth was he had already made someone for me. Got to hold on to the promises of God, because it filled my heart with hope. Like listen to this, Romans 4:18, talking about Abraham. It says, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope” — against all hope like in the most disappointing, impossible circumstance ever, “Abraham still had hope and he believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’ Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead. Since he was about a hundred years old and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that had power to do what he had promised.”
Abraham, a hundred years old, his wife is 90, they have no children and yet God promised him he’d be the father of many nations. So against all hope, in hope, he grabbed the promise of God and held on to it and that promise filled his heart with hope in the midst of a disappointing circumstance. The question is, is what promises are you holding on to? Maybe a better question is what facts are you rehearsing in your mind? Facts will fill your heart with disappointment, truth will fill your heart with hope. The truth of the finished work of Jesus has authority over every fact in your life. And the reason you have to understand there’s facts and there’s truth is because it’s ignorant to act like the facts aren’t there. The facts are there and God is inviting us to look at truth and allow his truth to determine who we are and how we live in the midst of those facts. Okay? Which brings me the last thing in this is just worship with your life. If we’re honest when disappointing circumstances come into our lives, like we — our natural response is just to complain. Like when things don’t go the way we expect, we complain, we whine, we get grumpy, we mope, we pout, we want to give up.
Like the last thing we want to do is the most important thing we can do. In Acts 16, there’s a great story of two guys, Paul and Silas, two followers of Jesus. They’ve given their whole life to advance the Kingdom of God. And one day, they run into this demon-possessed slave girl and they set her free. And the people of the town are so upset that they brought the Kingdom of God, that they beat these guys and throw them into prison. I’m just telling you, if I give my whole life to serve Jesus and I help a demon-possessed slave girl and I’m beaten and I’m thrown into prison, I’m just saying, I think, I’m just saying, I want my mommy. I’m just kind of like, like, I’m done. Like, Jesus if this is how it goes, I’m good. You can send me back home. I’m done being on mission. And yet, in Acts 16:25, it says, “At midnight, Paul and Silas worshiped and prayed.” They worshiped and prayed to the point where the presence of God came so powerfully in an atmosphere that it broke up the prison doors.
Like, they literally cold have run out to the prison cell but here’s what’s fascinating, they didn’t leave the prison, why? Because you don’t have to run when you have hope. We run when we no longer have hope. We run from our spouse, we run from our job, we run from our friends, we run from our family, we run from our circumstances and our situations. We run when we don’t have hope. Are you running today? It’s because you don’t have hope. See, those guys were more focused on the goodness of God instead of the disappointed of their circumstances. And as they lifted up the name of Jesus and worshipped, hope filled their heart. Because when you lift up the name of Jesus, hope rains down. Listen to me, disappointing circumstances, they are suffocating. When you are in a legitimate disappointing circumstance, it’s like, you can’t breathe. It’s all you can see, it’s like right in front of your face. You’re overwhelmed, it’s taking away your oxygen, you’re like, it’s completely compressing. And what worship does is it gets us out of our pain and looking back at the goodness of God so we can once again just have a breath of fresh air.
Worship attracts hope. You see, in every disappointment, you got two choices; you can complain or you can worship. You can talk about how bad it is, or you can talk about how good God is. Proverbs 18:21, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” You can declare hope over your life or you can declare disappointment over your life, but just remember your words shape your future. So maybe, just maybe are we chronically disappointed because we’re unwilling to worship? I mean, every week, when we get together, we come into this place and we worship. And what are we doing? We’re lifting up the name of Jesus and hope is raining down in our circumstances. And I know some of you, you’re like, “Yeah, but that’s the singing part, I don’t like it that much. But today, I like the singing more than his message,” you know, kind of thing.
Listen, what are we doing? We’re letting the hope of Jesus rain down in the disappointment of our lives. I don’t know how you can live a life of hope without a heart of worship. Because worship attracts hope. Now, worshipping with your song is important but there’s a different kind of worship, a deeper worship. You see, what I think is so fascinating about Joseph is we have no record of him complaining. Never complains. All of it, all of the hardship, he doesn’t complain, he’s not frustrated, he’s not grumpy, he doesn’t give up, he doesn’t quit. But you know what is interesting? We also don’t have any record of Joseph singing and worship either. There’s no record of Joseph singing the way we have songs like Moses, and David, and Paul did. But make no mistake about if Joseph worshipped, he just worshipped with his life. Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship.”
In other words, worship is not just singing a bunch of songs. Worship is engaging your circumstances with your whole heart. Like look at how Joseph lived. He served Potiphar, his slave master with his whole heart. He refused to sleep with Potiphar’s wife even though no one would have blamed him in that moment. He didn’t run to sin to numb his pain. He treated the prison warden with the same honor he treated his father. He never disengaged, he never gave up, he never quit, he never pulled back, he never did anything with a half heart, he offered his body, his life as a living sacrifice to God and that’s why he was always full of hope. See, worship is not singing songs. Worship is living like you believe the goodness of God is greater than the disappointment of your circumstance. Engaging your circumstances with your whole heart, that’s worshipping with your life.
Like Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.” It says whatever circumstance you’re in, engage with your whole heart. You say why? Because the Lord will reward you. You say reward me with what? With hope and with hope fulfilled. My question for you is, are you worshipping with your life? Are you engaging the disappointing circumstance with your whole heart or are you just going through the motions? That job you hate, that marriage that’s gotten stale, the loneliness you feel in school, taking care of a sick loved one, the situation where you feel like you’re way overqualified, the season that you want to get out of. Are you living like you believe the goodness of God is greater than the disappointment of your circumstance?
You see, the great temptation of disappointment is to cash out, is to give up, it’s to back up, it’s to say, “I’m good. I’m going to start living with half of my heart.” The problem is a halfhearted living will lead to wholehearted disappointment. Why? Because worship attracts hope. Maybe, just maybe we’re chronically disappointed because we’re not worshipping with our lives. In every disappointment, you get two choices. You can lean in with your whole heart, say I’m expecting the goodness of God, or you lean back to protect yourself. You can lean in and literally position yourself to say, “I’m living today like I’m expecting the goodness of God to come” or you can lean back and literally say, “I’m expecting more disappointment to come.” That’s why worshipping with your life is faith.
Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for, certain of what we do, not see.” Faith is engaging with your whole heart because you expect the goodness of God to come regardless of what you see in the factual world with your eyes. What I’m trying to say to you is this, don’t live down to your circumstance. Live up to your calling. Like Ephesians 4:1, “Live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” Like stop living down the disappointment and start living out the hope. Joseph never lived like a slave even though he was in slavery. He never lived like a prisoner even though he was in prison. He never lived like a sinner even though he was in a sinful nation. He lived like a prince with a heart full of hope. It was like Joseph was aware of the divine destiny that God had on his life. He was aware that God had a dream and a plan. And so he leaned in with everything he got, everything he had. And he refused to live down to his circumstance and he lived up to his calling.
Are you — see, what I want you to understand is hope is not a feeling. Hope is a belief. And beliefs become behaviors. Hope is not a feeling. If you’re waiting to feel hopeful before you do anything, you’re going to be waiting a long time. It’s a belief and your beliefs become behaviors. Joseph didn’t feel hopeful, he believed in hope. And so because he believed in the goodness of God, that became a behavior and he leaned in with everything that he had. And guess what, in the end, Joseph doesn’t just have hope, he has hope fulfilled. My question for you is what do you feel and what do you believe? Joseph felt disappointment, but he believed in hope. And if you want to know what you believe, just look at your behaviors. Because if you’re halfheartedly engaged in the circumstances that you’re disappointed in, you don’t just feel disappointment, you believe in disappointment.
And you’ve come to agreement with unmet expectations which is the power of darkness over your life. Are you living down the circumstances or up to your calling? And you say, what is my calling? Your calling is you are a beloved son or daughter with the favor of the Father, with the authority of heaven sent to bring the Kingdom of God to this earth with a divine dream and destiny from God. That’s your calling. Maybe we should start living like we’re aware of that instead of being overwhelmed and confused and concerned with all the facts and circumstances of disappointment. Victory is not getting your circumstance changed. Victory is living with the heart of the prince while you’re still in prison. Worship attracts hope even in the darkest valleys. Yeah, they throw you in a pit. Yeah, you’re in a prison. But God’s taking you to a palace. Romans 8:28, “He’s going to work all things together for the good of your life.” Genesis 50:20, it’s all said and done and Joseph is ruling in the palace. He says, “You intended this for harm, but God is intending it for good.” In other words, every disappointment is God positioning you like a chess board for a life full of hope. Hope is the confident expectation of the goodness of God today despite the disappointment of yesterday. And like Joseph, you’ll have to deal with some disappointment. And if you don’t deal with it in a godly way, you’ll never get from where you are to where he is taking you. And you know you’re learning to deal with disappointing circumstances when you engage both the valley and the mountaintop with your whole heart.
So you close your eyes with me. And let me just ask you. What do you think God is saying to you today? What’s he whispering in your heart and in your mind? Disappointment is not supposed to be the normal way of life. And if you’re here and you’ve started to believe that disappointment is all you’re going to get, I think today God wants to offer you some hope. You see here’s what I want you to do for a moment. Can you just think of the most disappointing circumstance in your life right now? Present tense, think of something that’s disappointing. Now, let’s just walk through what we just did. Think of that disappointing circumstance and can you just for a moment be aware that he is with you? And just because it’s disappointing doesn’t mean he’s left, doesn’t mean he’s mad, doesn’t mean he’s trying to get you, he’s right there saying, “Look at me.” And then when you think of that disappointing circumstance, what’s a promise that you’re holding on to? You say, “I don’t know, I don’t have one.” Okay, well, maybe this week, spend some time with God and ask him. Maybe he wants to give you a promise that he will always be with you. Maybe he wants to promise you to not be afraid. Maybe he wants to promise you that he will meet all of your needs. I don’t know. But I know this, he wants to make a promise to you so you have truth in the midst of fact. And that disappointment, are you allowing fact to dictate your reality or are you holding on to superior truth?
And then finally, are you worshipping with your life? Not just in song, but are you leaning in with your whole heart? And that disappointing marriage, and that disappointing job, and that disappointing situation and the routine that you can’t stand anymore, are you leaning back or are you leaning in? Because worship will attract hope. And you got a great calling on your life. Don’t live like a prisoner, don’t live like a slave. Live like a prince. Live like a princess. Because by the blood of Jesus, that’s who you are, heirs to the throne of the king of the universe who is lifting you up and filling you with hope. Jesus, today, would you give us the hope of heaven? Would you give us the hope of yourself? Thank you, Lord, for beginnings, breakthroughs and new seasons of hope in you. In your name we pray, amen.