5 ways to deal with disappointment

I don’t know about you, but I think there are few things worse than hearing the phrase, ‘you’re not the one.’

You’re not the one for the job.

You’re not the one for this team.

Or worst of all:

You’re not the one for me.

Rejection and disappointment are hard to handle. They’re even harder to handle in a way that glorifies God.

King David did it. In 1 Chronicles 17, David tells the prophet Nathan that he would like to build a temple to house the ark of the covenant. No hidden agenda, no ulterior motives. David simply wanted to honor God.

Yet here is God’s response, spoken through the Nathan:

Go and tell my servant David, ‘This is what the Lord says: You are not the one to build me a house…’   1 Chronicles 17:4


David’s intentions were good. His motives were pure. Yet God told him no. He was not the one. David’s son would build the temple.

That message had to sting. ‘You are not the one’ is a painful phrase to hear. But David’s reaction is anything but typical. He honors God, even in the midst of disappointment. Here are five principles we can apply from David’s response:

1. Seek God’s will first.

David told Nathan he wanted to build a temple for the ark of the covenant – a house for God, essentially. His was a noble goal, one meant to honor and glorify God. Outwardly, there was no reason not to proceed with his plan. Yet David sought Nathan’s counsel first. He wanted to make sure his plan lined up with God’s plan.

2. Acknowledge God’s authority

David was king over Israel. The most powerful man in his kingdom. I doubt he heard ‘no’ very often. Yet when God told him no, David didn’t circumvent God’s authority.

3. Sit in God’s presence

As soon as Nathan told David that he wouldn’t be the one to build the temple, David went in and sat before the Lord (v. 16). David went to God in good times and bad, in triumph and in defeat. He opened himself up to God, poured out his feelings, shared his innermost thoughts. (Read through the Psalms if you want a glimpse into David’s heart.)

4. Give thanks

David didn’t dwell on the fact that he wouldn’t be the one to build God’s temple. Instead he chose to focus on the blessings included in Nathan’s message. He praised God that one of his sons would succeed him as king and build the temple. He praised God for showing favor to his descendants (v. 16-27).

5. Do the work God has given you

David’s plan was to build a temple for God. When God told him no, David didn’t withdraw to his room. Instead he set out to establish the most peaceful, prosperous nation he could. He did his part to ensure that his son would have the best materials to build the temple (1 Chronicles 18:11). He carried on with God’s work, even though his role differed from what he thought it would be.

Let’s talk: Have you ever been told you’re not the one for a particular project? How did it make you feel? How did you respond?

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2 Responses to 5 ways to deal with disappointment

  1. Beth K. Vogt says:

    You stopped by my blog and participated in the Where in the World is Daniel contest. Thanks for the recommendation of where to stay on P.E.I. I enjoyed reading your blog today — lots of excellent insights on how to handle a “no.”

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