Adversity molded the apostle Paul into the greatest warrior for Christ the world has ever known. But there were times when adversity and disappointment took its toll on this rugged warrior. We can sense Paul's hurt and discouragement near the end of his second letter to Timothy:
Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica ... At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me ... Do your best to get here before winter (4:9-11,14,16,21).
Do you hear the pain in those words? Twice he urges Timothy to come to him. Do you feel his anguish when he twice speaks of being deserted by his friends?
In most of his letters, Paul seems to have an invincible spirit. Yet he was a man who suffered, felt betrayed, and was at times very lonely. However, Paul chose to look at life from a heavenly perspective. That's why he could write:
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body (2 Cor. 4:8-10).
Paul had experienced a level of opposition and suffering that you and I can scarcely imagine. People said they would do things but did not follow through. He could not depend on certain people. Yet he was not crushed, and he refused to give in to despair. He viewed his life as a continual process of dying. His goal was to live in such a way that the life of Jesus would be revealed in his response to adversity.
Beware of placing too much expectation on others, even in the church, even in leadership. Realize that people will let you down from time to time, but do not let that impact your faith. Trust God to work even through these disappointments.