"Dealing With Disappointment" Chapel Message from Jeff Iorg

“There are some days in ministry leadership that are very disappointing,” Jeff Iorg, president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary told a group of students, faculty, and staff who gathered for the opening chapel message of the spring 2012 semester.

Iorg gave several examples of facing disappointment in his work as president. “We once pursued a faculty member for the seminary. We held multiple meetings over multiple months. And after all the time and negotiation, he backed out at the last minute.” Iorg told of a prospective donor who was preparing to make a very large gift. “At the final meeting, the donor listed several qualifications about their gift which the seminary couldn’t accommodate. As a result, no gift was received.” The president described his efforts of discipling a potential leader weekly for a year, only to observe no real growth or development. He also mentioned his initial disappointment, when as a church planter he set a goal of 200 in a service and only 92 came. “All of these circumstances were disappointing.”

Iorg then asked, “Where does disappointment come from?” He observed, “It comes from unmet expectations rather than actual performance. You hope for a certain level of achievement, but something far less happens and you feel let down – often because of circumstances outside your control.”

“There is foundational truth to remember when dealing with disappointment,” Iorg noted. “God is at work in all your circumstances.” He referred to Romans 8:28-29, Jeremiah 29:11, and Genesis 50:20 to reinforce the fact God can use all circumstances for “good” in our lives.

Iorg then explained how God allows disappointments and uses them for our benefit. For example, disappointment reveals misplaced affections. Referring to Colossians 3:1-2, Iorg noted “We must set our hearts – affections, longings, hopes – on spiritual realities. It’s easy to fixate on a person or opportunity as your source of happiness. God allows disappointment to reorder our affections.”

The president then shared some personal stories illustrating how God allows disappointment so we can learn to comfort others, as described in 2 Corinthians 1:3-6. God also allows disappointments to guide and direct us to better options. Iorg referred to Acts 16:6-8 as “more than a travel-log.” “It’s an encouraging passage when you realize that God allowed the disciples to wander around,” he said. “They were probably wondering where they were supposed to be, in the same way we often wander around until we discover where God wants us. Just because you’re not finding a clear pathway doesn’t mean God is not leading. God gets us to where we ultimately are supposed to be, and we learn as part of the process.”

President Iorg concluded by reminding his listeners God allows disappointment to remind us of heaven. “So much of what we have on earth is insignificant in relation to heaven. So keep disappointment in focus – God is in control and better days are coming.”