I tricked my sister into riding the roller coaster. It’s not a proud moment for me, but I still chuckle when I think of it. I took Twila, my sister with Down’s Syndrome, to the amusement park. As we walked in, she saw the train that circled the periphery of the park. She excitedly exclaimed, “I want to ride the train!” Well, I didn’t pay money to ride a slow train in a circle. I told her we were going to ride a “better” train, and we got in line for the Tornado. As roller coasters go, the Tornado is lame, but compared to the choo-choo train that circled the park it was amazing. (The picture today is not the Tornado.)
Twila watched as the riders ahead of us boarded and started their ride. She watched as the cars slowly inched up the first, big hill. Click-click-click—Twila turned to me and with wide eyes said, “Too high!” I reassured her it was not too high and that it would be fun. When our turn came, she reluctantly took her seat.
I tried to convince her it would be fun. Now the click-click-click took us up the hill. With each click, Twila sunk further into her seat. As we reached the top, I told her we were going to go down “really fast.” No words could prepare for the three-story drop. She white-knuckled her way to the end with me shouting what was about to happen next, “We’re going to go up again…now, we’re going to go sideways…we’re going to go down really fast!” My play-by-play didn’t calm her fear.
At the end, Twila exclaimed, “WOW! That shook my face—IT WAS FUN!” When I asked her if she wanted to ride again, she emphatically said, “NO!”
The Real Roller Coaster
Here’s the roller coaster recap for Joseph. He started out his dad’s favorite son. His brothers sold him into slavery and he was taken to Egypt—away from his family and everything he knew. He became the slave of Potiphar and over time became Potiphar’s right-hand man. Mrs. Potiphar attempted to seduce Joseph and when he declined her advances, lied about him and Joseph ended up in prison. Again, over time, God’s blessing, along with Joseph’s abilities and integrity caught the eye of the jailer, and Joseph was promoted—but he was still in prison.
How’s that for up and down? Just like the roller coaster, the ups take time and the downs occur with breakneck speed. Through all the ups and downs, Joseph remained consistent in his commitment to God. His life was different enough for those around him to take note.
I’m sure there were days in Potiphar’s house when Joseph thought, This is it—the dream is about to come true. I’m sure there were days on the camel ride to Egypt, his first years in Potiphar’s house and in prison, those thoughts were more like, God! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
Disappointment is a crossroad—one path leads to hope, the other despair.
Without careful consideration, disappointment with people easily transfers to disappoint with God. Joseph’s brothers, and to some extent his father, Potiphar, and Pharaoh’s cupbearer—all of these people disappointed Joseph. Still, Joseph remained faithful—his confident hope remained in God.
The Crossroad of Disappointment
People will let you down. The people you should be able to trust explicitly may let you down the hardest. Circumstances change as time marches on. There is one thing that doesn’t change—God.
If you find yourself at the crossroad of disappoint—choose hope. Let your confident hope in God help you live a life of consistent, noteworthy integrity. Trust in God’s love for you and His power to make the bleak circumstances of your life into something glorious.
Father, when I’m tempted to turn down the path of despair, remind me of Your love for me. When the circumstances of my life and my disappointment with the actions of others cause me to question Your love and plan for me, give me new insight into Your deep love and power. Holy Spirit, grow that confident hope in my spirit. Give me the power to live a life that causes others to see God’s mighty power working in me.