The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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School’s Out For Summer

Any other year, unexpected freedom from end-of-term lectures and exam timetables would surely be cause for celebration. But this year, many students’ terms have ended with a tremendous anticlimax.

Spare a thought for those who, whether they’re sixth-formers or prospective grads, will have no summer term, no celebration party, no opportunity to hug their friends goodbye. Many had to leave their student houses and head home suddenly, now figuring out how to complete their degrees from a distance. It wasn’t meant to be like this. And there’s nothing they can do about it, except sit in the disappointment.

The temptation is to run from or deny this reality: be it watching all of Tiger King in a weekend or bulldozing our emotions with ‘God’s in charge’ mantras. But the gospel shows us and the students we know a better way.

Rather than a God who shows us how to escape disappointment, Christians believe in a God who shows up in our disappointment.

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews captures this fact, in pointing out that Jesus is not ‘unable to feel sympathy for our weaknesses’ (4:15). Jesus dealt with disappointment too – we see it in his response to his townsfolk’s lack of faith, his closest friends falling asleep when he needed them most, and even in his anguished cry to his father from the cross: ‘Why have you forsaken me?’

If disappointment was an experience for Jesus, we can be sure it will be an experience for those who follow him. Recognising there is no quick fix, on-demand, life-hack solution might be a way to help the students we love to come to terms with their disappointment.

To do so might even be the first step towards a more profound truth: Christians do not believe that we face disappointment alone. He is Immanuel – God with us. And as we discover that reality, our disappointment might not only be validated, it might be transformed.

Knowing Jesus and trusting him is a hope that ‘does not disappoint us’ (Romans 5:5). Because in God’s story, disappointment – whether a missed goodbye or a saviour on a cross – is only momentary. The truth is that he’s putting this not-as-it-should-be world back together, as his kingdom comes, day by day. This is the hope of the gospel. And that kind of hope is good news for all of us, including students.


Tim Yearsley
Programme Leader – Emerging Generations

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Tim Yearsley


  1. Tim, your article is very insightful and certainly true for people of any age but especially young believers. Dealing with disappointment is one of the most important lessons in our walk with God. Our response will determine whether our hearts gradually become calloused and cynical or we develop a God-given resilience and understanding of how things are in this broken world where people exercise freewill. When Jesus returns to make ‘all things new’ then our lives will be fully restored and all our disappointments and loss will melt away, but in the meantime we remember, however great the storm, He is always in the boat with us.

    By Peter Riley  -  1 May 2020
  2. Hi Tim
    This is all good with truth well expressed when you are constrained by the number of words. As a retired older person I would be interested to know how “emerging generations” see what needs putting back together in this not as it should be world. Personally I can see plenty of issues but I don’t want to be guilty of being nostalgic about a bygone era. If modern culture and society is moving in the path of “folly” rather than “wisdom” Christians need to be articulating that with clarity and winsomeness. It seems to me that currently the church is not very good at it.
    Good wishes
    David Child

    By David Child  -  1 May 2020
  3. This is an essential warning and it’s so important I see how much the word guard your heart …is extremely important
    In comparing if I can say younger generation to older, it’s not deny anything except every person’s experience in life is different, as an older person and through some heavy trials it really dose matter the experiences in each person’s life that teaches them and help Holy Spirit.
    For my self I can remember many different responses and reactions to things as they came…. God is such a merciful forgiving god and constantly draws and heals at different levels
    Through the heavy trials my first reaction was shock fear and panick but the more I leaned on God and the mature people sent around me I was able to humanly greive as different heavy trials have come through deaths cancer being a carer nearly losing some loved ones too ….has brought me to a deeper understanding how much we need one another and good grounded wise Christians with the patience , empathy understanding of human fraility and godly love and patience to stand with me in the gap and the long times of suffering, I don’t deny it’s a person’s choice and we learn somehow to respond differently with holy spirit’s help like Paul said he learned through his times to be content with his lot this speaks volumes really that we are all on a journey and by the grace of God we learn how to respond differently
    What I’m trying to understand is that god is kind patient merciful to us with that hope that in his mercy we will change so I see a real combination here of the roll in the church to also use empathy a patience to stand with people , not in condemnation but to deliver the truth with sensitivity understanding and encouraging others that through Jesus they can overcome they can be transformed many times that dose not happen over night producing the fruit of the spirit love joy peace goodness gentleness self control faithfullness kindness
    Your post really really encouraged me at this time when a loved ones life is fragile it reminds me to stay close to god to have good friends to support me to not just through a word at someone when they are in pain but to be a light with grace to help each other reach that finally end with a pleasing to God for me it’s extremely important that we don’t become judgemental but stay in his grace to gently lovingingly to do our best to guide others to understand the gospel
    I think we have a very very important role as the church to do what we can in God’s grace strength to keep encouraging others to keep walking the walk and giving people the chance to be truthful in a safe place and asking the Holy Spirit to guide us gently on how we help those struggling this is so extremely I believe on being on both sides of the fence I am learning that we do so much need to be guided by the Holy Spirit. I know ultimately people must choose for themselves but I am also aware that it can be our responsibility to do the best we can to support others encourage others
    Not everyone will go through the same trials so I love the words when we are weak then we are strong because it’s the grace of God that sees us through and to do our best to be gracious to others
    Hope I haven’t rambled too much
    Thank you

    By Christine  -  1 May 2020

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