“On the threshold of spiritual growth — on the verge of gaining realities that infuse faith with depth — we interpret the pain as failure and bail. Church after church, community after community, tradition after tradition, even god after god, the cycle starts over again as we continue our search for a spirited life (or even just a life) that lacks pain.”- Alicia Britt Chole
In Chapter 6 (“A Relational Cycle”) of The Night is Normal, Alicia Britt Chole sketches a pattern of spiritual pain. Dr. Chole intends to illustrate disillusionment’s position and potential in the life of faith.
1. Joyful anticipation. Dr. Chole defines this term s “that authentic, happy expectation of continued good.” Hence, the author adds, you:
- go into business with your best friend because, with Jesus at the center, what could possibly go wrong?
- find a dream mentor who obviously walks on water.
Certainly, such joy is a genuine emotion. The only illusion in joyful anticipation = its permanence. Because sooner or later life carries us to the next stage in the cycle, which is . . .
2. Disillusionment. In this stage, our assumptions about God, our lives as believers, and other Christians collide with reality. And as we begin to see more clearly, God invites us to grow. Above all, this spiritual pain presents a very real problem. For our culture fails to teach us how to live past this point in life — let alone in our faith.
Therefore, Dr. Chole explains:
“We live in an age that mistakenly calls joyful anticipation love and, therefore, views spiritual disillusionment as failure. So, when love fails, our culture counsels us to bail.”
3. Bail. We continue our search for a life that lacks pain. As a result, Dr. Chole counsels, we must first get a grip on why bail has such pull on us. And why it’s so hard to remain in Jesus during our night of disillusionment. Also, Dr. Chole exhorts, reframe your questions as companions — experience the fellowship of Jesus’ suffering. Above all, understand that your senses neither create nor negate God’s presence.
Today’s question: What Bible verses infuse faith with depth? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Garden of Eden faith?”