The rhythms of consolation and desolation

By Dave Henning / October 30, 2012

In Chapter 3 of The Life You’ve Always Wanted, author John Ortberg tells us that rhythm is one of the basic laws of life.  From a spiritual perspective, there will be times of consolation and desolation.  During times of consolation, Pastor Ortberg notes, God seems close, prayer is meaningful and the Bible comes alive.  Times of desolation are just the opposite- God seems far away, prayer is difficult and the Bible seems dry.

Yet, as C. S. Lewis writes in The Screwtape Letters, it is during those desert or trough times that we have the greatest opportunity for transformational growth.  During peak periods, we’ll have a strong sense of God’s presence and desire to be with God:

“But He will not allow this state of affairs to last long.  Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives.  He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs- to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish.  It is during such trough periods, much more so than the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be.”

Pastor Ortberg adds- the truth is that both seasons are inevitable, and that both provide unique opportunities for growth.


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Dave Henning

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