Disappointments are a common part of life. The restaurant touted by friends as fantastic fails to live up to expectations. The doctor reports troubling news. Hopes and dreams shipwreck on the shores of reality. That shiny new thingamajig breaks after only three uses. People, places, and things fail to live up to their promises. Having become used to disappointment we shrug our shoulders and say “that’s the way it goes.” Then what do we do with this verse? – “For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”” (Romans 10:11, NASB95)
So now we arrive at a different conundrum and an unexpected conflict. I’m not sure about your experience with Christianity but I’ve had my share of disappointments. Plans that didn’t achieve their vision. The petty backbiting that seems to infect every church. Prayers that seemed to go nowhere. Promises made that were never delivered. Love offered that was never returned. So what do we do with Romans 10:11?
In Romans 10:11 Paul quotes Isaiah, “Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.” (Isaiah 28:16, NASB95) Would it be too much of a pun to say that this verse is foundational? Peter quoted from it in his trial before the Jewish Council (Acts 4:11) and in his letter (1 Peter 2:6). Paul references it twice in Romans (Romans 9:33, 10:11) and in his other letters ( 1 Corinthians 3:11, Ephesians 2:20). Isaiah’s inspiration may have been Psalm 118, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone.” (Psalm 118:22, NASB95) Jesus quoted this Psalm in Matthew 21:42, Mark 12:10, Luke 20:17. Jesus is the cornerstone. Not the decorative and inscribed feature of modern buildings but the stone upon which all other stones are placed.
The cornerstone was carefully chosen, its angles needed to be square and plumb. If it was even a little off then the whole building would skew. We are told that Jesus is the stone that the builders (the religious folks and the world) rejected. But Jesus has become the cornerstone, the chief stone upon which we build. Not only is Jesus foundational He is instructional, guiding our lives towards alignment with His will. Leading us from self-centered disappointment to Christ-centered joy and fulfillment.
The basic truth of scripture is that we will experience disappointments in our homes, our family, our work, our churches and in ourselves, but Jesus will never disappoint if we are standing on Him. That doesn’t mean that we will get every prayer answered the way we want. Or that everything we touch in Jesus name will be a success. It does mean however that when Jesus is our cornerstone, our only expectation, and desire, that He will never disappoint. He is the rock upon which we are to align our lives. The only sure place we can stand among the many disappointments we experience.