Disillusionment challenges

By Dave Henning / October 18, 2023

“Disillusionment is not all loss.  Losing an illusion opens the way to gaining a reality.  Removing false ideas clears a path to finding truer ideas.  The soul-deep sadness of disillusionment challenges and then refines and purifies our beliefs with the fire of Truth.”- Alicia Britt Chole

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.”- John 16:13 (ESV)

In Chapter 3 (“That Startling ‘Pop’ “) of The Night is Normal, Alicia Britt Chole describes her fascination with words.  Specifically, their origin stories and modern textures.  Most significantly, Dr. Chole underscores, meaning matters – and misunderstandings can be costly.  As a result, when one assumes the meaning of words the fallout ranges from humorous to disastrous.

Consider the word disillusionment.  For many, if not most, the word sounds and feels dark and gloomy.  Consequently, we only call upon the word to communicate profound and seemingly permanent loss.  In addition, since the word carries a thoroughly negative meaning, we further assume that the experience is equally negative.  Hence, we avoid disillusionment in all realms.  And that includes our spiritual lives.

Therefore, Dr. Chole issues this caution:

“This assumption, however, can be far more dangerous than we might imagine.  Why?  Because disillusionment is not all loss.  When we are disillusioned, loss is making way within us for powerful gain. . . .  Without question, the process is less than pleasant.  But we dare not mistake unpleasant for unfruitful. . . .  The loss of illusion is a positive thing; it is evidence that we are growing (emphasis author’s)”

In conclusion, Dr. Chole notes, in our Christian walk it’s natural for us to collect assumptions regarding how we think life in God should work.  However, like a balloon too small for the amount of air it needs to hold, what we assume about God often pops our small balloon.  Because the pressure of the finite us fails to contain and explain our Infinite God.

So, the painful loss of illusion serves as a reality check of our intimacy with God.  As Dan B. Allender and Tremper Longman III have stated, “reality is where we meet God.”

Today’s question: How do disillusionment challenges refine and purify your Christian faith?  Please share,

Tomorrow’s blog: “Tales and tears – disillusionment”

About the author

Dave Henning

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