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During a recent family trip to the Pacific Northwest, little did I realize how God would use the story of explorer John Mears and his journey to Cape Disappointment to teach me some valuable lessons about faith, perseverence, and the dangers of disappointment.

MARCH 2013

In 1788 British fur trader John Mears was searching what is today the Oregon coast of the western United States for a river he had learned of through Spanish maps. Mears’ long, rugged survey efforts eventually ended at the base of a towering column of basalt. Disheartened, he aptly named the structure “Cape Disappointment,” believing that “no such river…exists.”

What Mears didn’t realize was that he had, in fact, found the northern entrance to the river he sought. However, according to one account, after a storm Mears turned his ship around just north of the Cape and therefore narrowly missed the discovery of the Columbia River.

I learned of John Mears on a recent family trip to the Pacific Northwest. Mears set sail toward his dream and believed he would find it, but he gave up just short of his goal. What if he had just kept going?  Had he only continued on a little farther, he would have reached his destination.  Instead, he turned around and headed back…disappointed and unfulfilled.

His story reminded me of
Galatians 6:9, “So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit.”(MSG) I couldn’t help but wonder how many times in my own life I have given up or changed direction, not realizing how close I was to fulfilling my goal or reaching my destination. Even though my pastor constantly reminds our congregation, “If you don’t quit, you will win,” sometimes it’s easier said than done.

For me, I have been “fighting the good fight” and believing for a healing for a skin condition for several years. It is not life threatening. It’s more of a nuisance, but I believe that God wants me free from it. And although I have prayed and believed for years, and have seen some improvement, I am still waiting for my healing to be complete.

This is where disappointment can set in. I have found that the quickest way to get into discouragement and despair is to focus on the disappointments. Even though I have been doing everything I know to do (praying, trusting God, eating right, taking care of myself, etc.), I am still dealing with this particular issue. But if I dwell on my disappointment, it can turn into discouragement.  And when you get discouraged, it is tempting to give up and quit. To quit praying about the situation. To quit looking at the promises of God. To quit trusting God.

I don’t intend to ever stop trusting God, but I can understand how that sort of path could certainly lead one toward utter despair and hopelessness.

We all have a Cape Disappointment in our lives. Something we are believing for that either hasn’t happened yet or has turned out differently than we had hoped. It could be an unfulfilling job, a disappointing marriage, a broken family relationship, an illness, or a financial crisis. How do we keep from having our faith shipwrecked when faced with these situations? And how do we keep ourselves from going from disappointment to discouragement to despair…especially when our answer could be right around the next corner?

Even though our flesh likes to focus on the problems, I like how the apostle Paul instructs us to press  toward the mark of the high calling of God. In
Philippians 3:13, he says you must forget "those things which are behind." Therefore, when I experience those times of disappointment at not having the answer I’m seeking, I find it helpful to shift my thinking.

I begin focusing on all the things God has done in my life, such as providing my salvation, blessing me with overall good health, loving relationships, peace, and financial stability. I have been truly blessed. And we all have something we can be thankful for, even if it is just being God’s child.

When we have an area in which we are searching or waiting for an answer, it is easy to put all the focus there. Why haven’t you done this for me, God? Instead of thinking about all of the positive things God has done, we focus on what He hasn't done. That is where disappointment comes in, and if we let it, disappointment can lead to discouragement and then potentially onto despair.

We no longer ask, expect, or search for our “faith destinations” because our feelings tell us it either didn't work in the past or it is taking too long.

So today, if you are facing your own Cape Disappointment, I encourage you to hang on! Jesus tells us,
“Don’t quit, even if it costs you your life. Stay there believing. I have a Life-Crown sized and ready for you.” (Rev. 2:10 MSG) And James tells us, “Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate.” (James 1:12 MSG)

As far as my own journey is concerned, I am still believing for the full manifestation of my healing, but I’ve come too far to stop now. I purpose to keep going and I hope you will do the same.

Remember John Mears the next time you are tempted to quit. You might just be one step away from victory.

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May God bless and keep you. And always remember, if you don't quit, you will win!

martha hultgren

Martha Hultgren
cfaith staff

Author Biography

Martha Hultgren
Web site: cfaith
Martha Hultgren is a wife, mom, traveler, writer, editor, and, most importantly, a follower of Jesus Christ. Martha worked as a content editor for Martha has three children and lives with her husband Rick and cat Diamond in Maple Grove, Minnesota.

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