Once upon a time I thought I had a friend, but all those good memories we shared still did not make up for the amount of maturity he needed to achieve by this stage in life and he could not take some friendly, constructive advice from me and terminated our relationship.

Once upon a time family that I always visited, worshiped with, ate with, and created special memories with just stopped it's communication.

Once upon a time I had a vision of what my family and future would look like, but it didn't exactly work out.

I would bet that most of us can start out with this phrase "Once upon a time" and tell a different ending than happy.  I have had my share of disappointments so far just like anybody else.  And it is interesting to note that those disappointments come mainly from people closest to me.  Considering there is always somebody that has it worse off than me I am thankful for just a small taste of disappointment.

Life is going to deal it's disappointments.  They are guaranteed.  I used to not expect them at all.  I certainly don't look for them, that's a waste of my life and anybody else's. Who wants to live a life looking around every corner for the next sting, let down, or all out broadside?  Not me.

You and I can acknowledge their existence, not look for them in our daily lives, and attempt to shield ourselves when they come, but what will really begin to shape us is how we respond to those discouragements or disappointments in life.

For example, I have found with myself that with some things, if I do not listen carefully enough, I have a quick "knee-jerk" reaction to situations and I have disappointed myself with my responses.  I am praying the Lord will work on this with me.  I don't need to complicate the issue by having the wrong kind of reaction (i.e. blowing it out of proportion, not getting enough information, not allowing things to play out, etc).

The example above is because of me and with a little more discipline can be avoided.  However, there are some situations we just can't avoid.  In this case, we are going to either see disappointments and not be able to change them or we will just be blind-sided.  Again the key is how we respond and not react like my bad habit of the "knee-jerk reaction" described above.  To me reacting is a spur-of-the-moment answer to stimuli.  Responding, on the other hand, incorporates thinking through next steps.

Hopefully, when we choose to Respond, a helpful thing to keep in mind, especially for Believers in Christ, is what The Word of God says about this topic.  The first Scripture that comes to mind is the one that promises  everyone, especially the Christians, that we are NOT exempt from experiencing discouragements, disappointments, or "troubles".

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

Thank the Lord for the last part of that verse - (1) Take heart.  (2)  Jesus has overcome the world.  Hallelujah!

Another verse to hold onto laughs in the face of trouble as something that would get in the way of our relationship with God through Christ Jesus our Savior.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? - Romans 8:35

So, when disappointments come our way just remind yourself there is no trouble that can keep God from loving us.  He showed us how much He loved us in that while we were still sinners God sent His Word in flesh, Jesus, to purchase our redemption with His life (Romans 5:8).  BUT He keeps on loving us in a myriad different ways.  I know, I have experienced it!

There is a new world coming where everything is going to be different.  Until that time, we are guaranteed trouble, but told it shall not touch the Believer's relationship with Christ.  So, what are the troubles for?

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Troubles, disappointments, and discouragements are all opportunities.  They are opportunities for The Comforter to Comfort.  They are opportunities for us to mature in Christ.  They are opportunities for us to share the burdens and answers from God with others in this life possibly in the same situation.  We cannot walk this life alone.  It is all about relationship.  It is hard for us, for me, to see the opportunities in the disappointments when they arrive, BUT with God's help I, we, can develop a mature, keen attitude and perspective about these situations when they come.  Then we will be able to claim James 1:2-4.......

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.