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Dealing With Disappointment

Every believer deal with being disappointed with God. Recently, I’ve been thinking about being disappointed. Whenever I am faced with an issue–either personal or pastoral–I often come back to the writer who is the source of so much contemporary theology, C.S. Lewis. Cherish these words from The Screwtape Letters: With Screwtape Proposes a Toast‘ (an older demon instructor mentoring a younger).

“Work hard, then, on the disappointment or anti-climax which is certainly coming to the patient during the first few weeks as a churchman. The Enemy allows this disappointment to occur on the threshold of every human endeavor. It occurs when the boy who has been enchanted in the nursery by Stories from the Odyssey buckles down to really learning Greek. It occurs when lovers have got married and begin the real task of learning to live together. In every department of life it marks the transition from dreaming aspiration to laborious doing. The Enemy takes this risk because He has a curious fantasy of making all these disgusting little human vermin into what He calls His “free” lovers and servants–“sons” is the word He uses, with His inveterate love of degrading the whole spiritual world by unnatural liaisons with the two-legged animals. Desiring their freedom, He therefore refuses to carry them, by their mere affections and habits, to any of the goals which He sets before them: He leaves them to “do it on their own.” And there lies our opportunity. But also, remember, there lies our danger. If only they get through this initial dryness successfully, they become much less dependent on emotion and therefore much less harder to tempt.”

It occurs to me that the “initial dryness” doesn’t go away after we’ve been disciples for a while, but re-occurs at every intersection in which we attempt to step out with Jesus into something new.

We are never safe because Jesus makes all things new.

What helps you get through times of disappointment? What has been God’s word to you?

  • Lauren Winner has just written a thoughtful little book about the kind of disappointment, or mid-faith lull, she is experiencing and that many others can resonate with, Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis. If you’ve never read her before, she is brutally honest about herself in a way that helps me to look at myself more honestly.

    • Shane, I have Lauren’s book and have it packed for my road trip. Looking forward to getting into it. I’ve heard really great things.

  • I am growing in learning to wait out the discomfort until the next moment arrives. “This too, shall pass.” Great stuff from Lewis; thanks.

    • Waiting….ugh! Necessary, but a pain. I feel ya!

  • Donna

    Thanks, I am stealing the quote. A difficult row to hoe to be sure.

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