The following is an excerpt from a letter John Newton wrote to his 13-year old daughter in 1772:
"My dear Betsy...If I could teach you a lesson, which, as yet, I have but poorly learned myself, I would teach you a way to never be disappointed. This would be the case if you could always form a right judgment of this world, and all things in it. If you go to a bramble-bush to look for grapes, you must be disappointed; but then you are old enough to know that grapes never grow upon brambles. So, if you expect much pleasure here in this world, you will not find it. But you ought not to say you are disappointed, because the Scripture plainly warned you beforehand to look for crosses, trials and hindrances every day. If you expect such things, you will not be disappointed when they happen."
I don't know how well Betsy absorbed her father's advice as a teenager, but I guarantee she's now got this no-disappointment thing down to perfection. I can't wait to obtain her same impeccable judgment of this world.
Meanwhile, I'm left to wrestle with a wildly vivid imagination that I'm convinced is nothing short of an exhausting curse. Life would be much easier and far less complicated if I possessed my husband's subdued mental color palette. Reality is rarely stark in his world. It blends smoothly into the cool gray landscape of his modest expectations, gracing him with a calm contentment that I have always found annoyingly attractive. In my world, reality rarely makes an appearance quietly. It prefers to enter with stark bravado, waging war against lofty expectations that torment me with disappointment and make my fight for joy as fierce as the fiery flare of my emotions. That's fierce.
But God is faithful, and He has always graciously harbored my heart in the midst of the storm. In His loving mercy, He has never failed to gently turn my attention away from this darkened world that painfully pales against my vibrant kaleidoscope of expectation. He sets my gaze on the warm radiance of His Son, and the great I Am restores my soul. It's a painful endeavor, but He's teaching me to yearn for that day when l stand fully in His glorious presence and enjoy His beauty in a living color too vivid for my wildest imagination. He's teaching me to yearn for that day when my insatiable hunger will be gone with the wind, and I will declare with joyful and confident resolve, "As God is my witness, I will never be disappointed again!"
Holly is the wife of Dick Stratton, Executive Pastor at Heritage Bible Church in Greenville, SC. She has a degree in Family & Consumer Science Education from Bob Jones University and a master's degree in Child & Family Development from the University of Georgia. She is a speaker for women's conferences and runs a private counseling practice from her home. Holly and Dick have two children: Michael and Maycee.
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