Dis-Illusionment & God
I know someone who is going through a difficult season of disappointment and disillusionment after being betrayed and hurt by someone they believed to be a friend.
The aftermath of the initial betrayal led to even more acts of dishonesty and even outright malice from the betrayer.
It has been a painful season for my friend--one that has left her feeling hurt, angry and hollow. She described how she felt disillusioned, unable to trust her instincts.
I know that my friend has not given up her belief in God, but I do sense that she has wondered aloud where God has been in the middle of all her troubles.
In his recent book, Learning to Speak God from Scratch, author Jonathan Merritt addresses the heartbreak that can happen to so many of us when our expectations of God are dashed against the rocks of life's most treacherous shores. He writes:
Our framework of expectations work pretty well for us... as long as God seems to do what we want God to do.
He then goes on to say that being disappointed in God--as opposed to doubting God--actually might be the greatest threat to people's faith.
In other words, it's almost more devastating to believe that God isn't really all that good than it is to not believe in God at all.
When our expectations of God are dashed, it's easy to turn our disappointment into resentment. As Anne Lamott once wrote, our expectations are often "resentments under construction."
In my daily reading today I read something that I'd like to share with my friend and with anyone else who is going through a difficult season of dashed expectations, woundedness and pain. I'd like to share this with anyone who is wondering, "Is God really good?"
Once we can accept that God is in all circumstances and that God can and will use even bad situations for good, then everything becomes an occasion for good and an occasion for God... Your task is to find the good, the true, and the beautiful in everything, even and most especially in the problematic. - Richard RohrCome on! Don't you love this? I have long believed that God doesn't cause all things, but that God is present in all things.
And maybe God is using the hard seasons to dis-illusion us from the misguided expectations we have about God.
Could it be that God uses those moments to give us the space to get real with God, to know God more intimately, to allow God to put the pieces of our dashed expectations back together into something that is beautiful, good and true?
May it be so. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.