Rename Your Disappointment

Photo by Milada Vigerova

And it came to pass as her soul was in departing (for she died), that she called his name Benoni [that is, the son of my sorrow], but his father called him Benjamin [that is, The son of my right hand].

Genesis 35:18 KJV

Rachel after waiting for 7 years to be with Jacob, soon found out she couldn’t conceive. She had to agonizingly sit and watch her elder sister Leah gives Jacob son after son.

After a long wait, we are told…Then God remembered [the prayers of] Rachel, and God thought of her and opened her womb [so that she would conceive]. Genesis 30:22 NIV

Unlike her sister, Rachel had to pray for God to open her womb and God heard her. She gave birth to a son and named him Joseph, and said, “May the Lord add me another son.” Genesis 30:24 NIV

God heard her prayers and she conceived again. This time things turned out very differently. It’s in giving birth (with great difficulty) to her second son that Rachel died.

Before she died, she called her son Benoni meaning son of my sorrow. The agony of birthing this blessing was so great that all Rachel could see was sorrow. This was no longer the son that God had added. It was now the sorrow that took her life.

Maybe, you’re in a situation like Rachel’s. You’ve waited a long time for God to answer a prayer. But the answer didn’t quite turn out as you had hoped. Your sorrow could be a relationship that you were sure was of God. It could be you are walking through the heartache of betrayal and divorce for a marriage you prayed and believed God for. You could be starting over after losing your dream job. Yours could be just like Rachel’s ; attached to a child you birthed through much prayer. Instead of joy and praise for the blessing, here you are, muddling through unimaginable sorrow and heartache.

It’s hard to imagine how something prayed for and covered by God can turn out so horribly.

I have been here, holding all the broken pieces of a God-given promise. An answered prayer covered in disappointment and pain. I have found myself wishing that it would just die, the sorrow was so much I wanted it out of my life.

In the middle of unbelieveable heartache and disappointment; God’s promises on this blessing faded into the background of the agony I was now facing.

As I read this verse Jacob’s response encouraged me. Yes, this blessing brought so much sorrow into his life. He loses his love, the one he had worked 14 years for. Jacob could have chosen to agree with the prophecy of sorrow over his life but he doesn’t. He chooses to rename it and he calls him the son of my right hand.

The right hand is symbolic of strength. So what Jacob is saying is, even though I have received this gift in sorrow, it will become my strength. Instead of it disempowering me, it will make me stronger.

Something shifted in my life when I saw this. I realized I could either partner with the sorrow the enemy has thrown in my life. Or I could let this situation become what strengthens my faith in God.

Left too long disappointment can color everything in our life. It becomes hard to see God’s goodness when we are walking around disappointed. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t feel disappointed and sorrowful when things don’t work out the way we believed. It’s a righteous response to any injustice in our lives.

We can allow our sorrow and disappointment to become the trajectory of our lives. We can hang out in disappointment Street too long until it becomes a garment over our lives.

I realized I had a choice and so do you. I could take the sorrow handed to me and allow it to define the rest of my life, or I could allow the disappointment to become what moulds and strengthens me in my faith.

I’m encouraged by this,… and we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose. Romans 8:28 AMP

Even though it feels like the pieces of your life are too scattered, God can mend them back together and make it work for good. Even though it feels like the sorrow is too deep; the disappointment too much; He can weave it into His great plan for our lives and turn what the enemy meant for evil for our good.

It’s hard to see any good coming from our situations when we are going through them. But in hindsight, we will see the beautiful masterpieces our broken lives have become in God.

God promises, “I will give those who are weary all they need. I will refresh everyone who is filled with sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:25 GWT In Him the weary find rest and replenishment, the sorrowful find refreshment.

Disappointment is what the enemy sends us to discourage our faith, while redemption is God’s backup plan for all our disappointments.

When we realize that there is nothing God won’t redeem and make new. We find the strength to take all our disappointments; all our sorrow; all our could have beens’ and place them at His feet believing He can make something good from them. This was Jacob’s belief when he renamed his sorrow – strength. And sis, you can rename yours too.


Father, I thank you because even before this sorrow came into my life, you saw it and had a plan to redeem it. I choose to trust you with this situation. Help me to rename my disappointments; to see them as opportunities for your glory to be revealed.  I choose to have patience in your redemption plan. I know that someday I’ll be able to look back and rejoice because you made all things new. The enemy will not have the final say because grace has won. In Jesus name Amen.

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