“Disappointment into Hopeful Victory” 2

Today is October 22, 2011.  For many it is just another day.  For me and several million others it is a historic day. Let me explain.  In the first half of the XIX Century, there was a preacher by the name of William Miller. As he studied the Bible, he developed an arresting interest on the end of time.  Moved by the pain and miseries of daily living he began to search the Bible and Its prophecies in regards to the Second Coming of Jesus to this earth.  In his total devotion to find an exact date for the Second Coming of Jesus he came across a verse found in Daniel 8:14: “And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.”

Miller, in his quest to find meaning to this passage and in his eagerness to come up with a date for a better day, interpreted the sanctuary to be this earth and calculated the two thousand three hundred days; after several tries he finally came up with the conclusion and began to preach that Jesus would come to cleanse the earth and take those who loved Him to heaven on October 22, 1844.  Just one mistake, a big mistake, Miller failed to pay attention to another Bible verse:

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” (Matthew 24:36).

As Miller preached, scores of people believed and prepared themselves to see Jesus, face to face on October 22, 1844.  As the day passed and the Second Coming of Jesus did not happen, October 22, 1844 became known as the Great Disappointment. Hiram Edson was there, this is how he summed up his experience: “Our fondest hopes and expectations were blasted, and such a spirit of weeping came over us as I never experienced before. It seemed that the loss of all earthly friends could have been no comparison. We wept and wept, till the day dawn.”

William Miller and his followers, known as the Millerites or the Adventists were ridiculed and became the object of jokes.  Many of those who had waited for Jesus turned cynic, some stopped believing, and others lost faith; they were very disappointed. Have you ever been disappointed? What do you do when you hope for something or for someone, only to have your expectations totally blasted?

Yet, there were a few who believed, even in the midst of the disappointment. They were sad, they cried, but they did not give up.  They trusted the Bible and the promise of Jesus’ Second Coming.  Though in the midst of chaos and confusion, they wiped their tears, picked each other up, lifted their heads, began to search for solutions, and continued to spread through words and actions the hope of a better day, as found in the Bible.

Have you been disappointed in the past? Are you disappointed today? I have a great promise for you, directly from the awesome Book:

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” (II Chronicles 15:7). The Message paraphrases it like this: “Be strong. Take heart. Payday is coming!”

I am grateful to the few who did not give up, to those who were strong and did not become cynics. I am really thankful for those who kept hope alive during their disappointment.  They were just a few, at times scattered and without any visible means, but God blessed their faith, vision, desire not to repeat past mistakes, and courage. Today, 167 years later, I thank God for people who did not give up, who continued to search the Bible and its prophesies, and founded the Seventh-day Adventist Church. On this day, I thank God for His ability to turn disappointment into the blessing of a global movement which has made this world a better place, spreading actions of compassion and proclaiming a message of hope.

Please, hang in there with faith, vision, and courage just like the early Adventists did; God will reverse your worst and most unpleasant disappointments into blessings, happiness, and hope for the future.  Oh, by the way, look forward to God’s ultimate vision for humanity, the day when we see Jesus, FACE to FACE.

Prayer: My God, may I never give up because of disappointment. Give me faith to recognize that your promises are sure, the ability to see mistakes so I don’t repeat them, and courage to keep going. Thank you for your power to turn chaos into blessings and disappointment into hope and victory. Thank you, Amen.