Walt Disney, founder of the Disney Corporation, is one of the most well-known names in the world. Yet it’s possible we wouldn’t know this name had it not been for a painful rejection. In 1919, while working as an editor, Disney was fired because, according to his boss, he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Only a few years later, Disney founded his company, which would go on to become one of the largest and most renowned businesses in the world. What seemed like a setback actually paved the way for Disney’s success.

In many ways, the ascension of Jesus could be seen as a setback. It was a disappointment to the disciples who expected Jesus’ kingdom to come in fullness immediately (Acts 1:6). It also must have saddened them to see their rabbi and their friend leave them physically. One can only imagine the mixed emotions the disciples were experiencing as they saw Jesus rise into the clouds!

But Jesus’ view of the ascension was in stark contrast to the disciples’—He saw it as an entirely good thing because it made room for the ministry of the Holy Spirit (John 16:7). They would no longer see Him, but His presence and power would fill them through the Spirit. This must have been difficult for the disciples to believe, but Jesus’ view was proven right—within the first days of the outpouring of the Spirit, the disciples were radically transformed and the early church grew explosively throughout the region (Acts 2:1-21, 41-47).

Low points and disappointments are inevitable in life. But we should remind ourselves that we follow a God who works in and through us—even during our darkest days. Let’s not be quick to call something a disappointment or a loss, for it just might be God’s way of doing something new and even better!

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Joshua 7:1-26