We are often disappointed in life in so many ways and things and persons. God seems so far away, and Christ hides His face from us in our deepest hurts and needs. Tragedy and accidents overwhelms our hearts on all sides. As we look back we find so often that those disappointments were in truth and wisdom and mercy His appointments. Here are some in my life which causes deep reflection and thankfulness.
When I was conceived in my mother as a young teenager, in Jamaica, by a Merchant Marine, who she thought was an American, but (I was told) on finding out he was from another country, she decided to abort by jumping off the table onto her stomach. This failed, and I lived. God turned death into life my her disappointment. His appointment was for child to be born and grow and come to know Him in Christ.
Another disappointment was a military career in the Air Force at 18, when I enlisted to go off to Vietnam as a patriotic duty (despite Woody and Arlo Guthrie influences) as a (legal) immigrant. I thought, prayerfully after words with a pastor and seminary student, that I also could get easier citizenship, plenty of time to study, GI benefits for further ministry schooling, and more. I was rejected because of my corrected club foot, and for criminal records as a youth from my 15th-17th years. I was very much hurt and saddened that as a Christian willing to serve in the military that I could not. God had other plans to enlist me in His service and ministry. The Lord would soon thereafter train me in another kind of warfare and fighting.
There are many disappointments that each of us can recall as we age in life. The third disappointment I might relate is that of altered missions. I thought I would be a Baptist Preacher and Missionary; I pursued a life of a Scholar; I thought of becoming a printer; and I determined that God was calling me to South America missions. These all one by one were disappointments and proved to be His appointments for me in something other than I thought or hoped or believed; not to mention marriage and a family of kids and grandkids.
Finally, many disappointments come with great sorrow, regrets, shame, pain, and so many hidden things of body, soul, and spirit. My failure and folly in business has been a frequent trouble to my soul. Lacking the world’s wisdom in business and money I made many mistakes thinking it was a good or right before God and man. Alas, failure and disappointment and darkness. While in one of those great disappointments in the mid-eighties I found a song to speak to me that light will come out of darkness, sunshine after rain and cloud, and His appointments from disappointments.
This song has been erroneously misattributed and miss credited to Unknown, Anonymous, Edith Lillian Young, and others, especially on the Internet; but the correct author is Laura Sophia Soole published first in Home Words for Heart and Hearth in 1893, page 248, in five stanzas; with these Bible verses appended: “He performeth the thing that is appointed for me.”–Job xxiii. 14.
“Thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass.”—Job xiv. 5.
(Also, it appears the song comes out of her experience of her son’s military career as may be seen in “Ready for either.”: “Incidents in the Life of a Young Cavalry Officer by his Mother.” Mrs. Laura Sophia Soole, Godfrey Hope Soole; with Preface to second edition by Field-Marshal Earl Roberts. Published by Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Company, 1911.)
By Mrs. L. S. SOOLE.
“He performeth the thing that is appointed for me.”–Job xxiii. 14.
“Thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass.”—JoB xiv. 5.
Change one letter, then I see
That the thwarting of my purpose
Is God’s better choice for me.
His appointment must be blessing
Though it may come in disguise;
For the end from the beginning
Open to His wisdom lies.
Whose? The Lord’s who loves me best,
Understands and knows me fully,
Who my faith and love would test.
For, like loving earthly parents,
He rejoices when He knows
That His child accepts unquestioned
All that from His wisdom flows.
“No good thing will He withhold”;
From denials oft we gather,
Treasures of His love untold.
Well He knows each broken purpose
Leads to fuller, deeper trust,
And the end of all His dealings
Proves our God is wise and just.
Lord, I take it then as such,
Like the clay in hands of potter,
Yielding wholly to Thy touch.
All my life’s plan is Thy moulding,
Not one single choice be mine;
Let me answer unrepining,
Father, “Not my will, but Thine.”
Change the letter, then, dear friend,
Take in cheerful acquiescence
All Thy Father’s love may send;
Soon will faith be lost in vision,
Then in glory thou shalt see
“His appointment,” and that only,
Was the right way Home for thee.