Disappointments can be a springboard to spiritual growth or an excuse for apostasy. (Pexels)

On Wednesday, ADP released its March employment report. The strong 263,000 monthly increase in employment was more than 90,000 higher than pre-report expectations. News headlines celebrated the good news of strong March employment.  But buried deep within many articles was the important detail that ADP had lowered its February estimate by 53,000. Most news articles were treating strong March employment as a foregone conclusion.  

The ADP report is used as an important indicator of the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) jobs report to be released two days later. The reports often move in tandem, but occasionally diverge. BLS surveys 40,000 businesses while BLS surveys 147,000 businesses and government agencies representing 634,000 worksites.  

On Friday, BLS shocked the world by reporting the monthly increase in March nonfarm employment at a disappointing 98,000 (compared to a revised 219,000 in February and an Econday pre-report consensus of 175,000). Private payrolls, at 89,000, were 140,000 lower than the revised February number.  By industry, retail had the largest decrease, while professional and business services showed the largest monthly increases.  Average hourly earnings increased 0.2 percent compared to 0.3 percent in February.  The length of the average workweek fell from 34.4 hours to 34.3 hours.

Examination of BLS survey methodology reveals that there may be a good reason for the disappointing employment number. BLS conducts its monthly survey over a single week. During the survey week for this report, a Category 3 storm (Stella) struck the northeast. The storm brought hurricane force winds to the New England coast and 3 to 5 feet of snow in parts of New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont. Stella undoubtedly was a factor. The next report should give insight on the extent of Stella's impact. Regardless, disappointing employment should impact March consumer expenditures.

Believers will occasionally experience unexpected disappointments. Sources of disappointment can be actions or inactions of other people, failure to get expected opportunities, a bad doctor's report, failed investments, news of a sudden loss, dashed expectations and a variety of other causes. The source of the disappointment is not as important as our reaction to it.   

Our reaction to disappointment can move us closer to God or further away. It can be a springboard to spiritual growth or an excuse for apostasy. Overcoming disappointment and trials can better prepare us for promotion. But, allowing disappointment to turn into a roadblock can stop, divert or delay us from accomplishing what we are called to do. Disappointment can make us more compassionate for the suffering of others or cause us to be embittered, depressed and/or angry. We might not be able to control the source of the disappointment, but we choose how we react. The choice is ours.

The following principles should prove beneficial when you receive an unexpected disappointment.

1. Recognize that we will have problems. In this world, we will have problems. But regardless of what is going on, we can have peace.  We have the perfect example.

"I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

2. Recognize that we are not alone. Recognize that Jesus is with us, that the Spirit is in us, and we have our brothers and sisters in Christ to counsel us.

"For He has said: 'I will never leave you, nor forsake you,'" (Hebrews 13:5b).

"the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, for it does not see Him, neither does it know Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you, and will be in you," (John 14:17)

"Without counsel, purposes are disappointed, but in the multitude of counselors they are established" (Prov. 15:22).

3. Recognize that problems are an opportunity to grow. Strong faith, like steel, is faith that has been tried.  

"My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations, knowing that the trying of your faith develops patience. But let patience perfect its work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing" (James 1:2-4).

4.  Recognize that God will grant us the wisdom to overcome. God wants relationship. He doesn't want us to rely exclusively on our human wisdom.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men liberally and without criticism, and it will be given to him" (James 1:5).

5.  Recognize that all disappointments can be overcome. We are supposed to be overcomers. Jesus died for our sins, was resurrected and sent the Holy Spirit to live in us. He gave us His infallible Word. He has promised us wisdom and His constant companionship. We can overcome all things.

"I can do all things because of Christ who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13).

Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics and undergraduate chair of the College of Business at Oral Roberts University.

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