Temptation to bail – frustration

By Dave Henning / November 3, 2023

“The temptation to bail in [disillusionment with self] lies not in a loss of faith, but in a loss of confidence in our ability to follow God.  Instead of ‘I thought that God would be different,’ disillusionment with self prompts us to whisper, ‘I thought that I would be different.’  It is a form of spiritual frustration.”- Alicia Britt Chole

“Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”- Psalm 42:15 (NIV)

In Chapter 26 (“Spiritual Frustration”) of The Night is Normal, Alicia Britt Chole observes that being a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) is a given for those who believe.  However, Dr. Chole counsels, walking out that new me almost always initiates disillusionment.  About our humanity, in general.  And about our faith, in particular.

Therefore, the author describes frustration as an emotional response to spiritual impotence.  In addition, she states, the word frustration comes from the Latin frustrari, meaning to “deceive or disappoint.”  Hence, frustration describes the feeling that comes over us when our expectations deceive us (emphasis author’s).

As a result, Dr. Chole astutely observes:

“[God] knows full well how the Fall affects us.  And He stands ready to mentor us through the painful gaining of reality about ourselves. . . .  Seeing ourselves as dust (Psalm 103:14), however, can be painful.  Committing to God in the midst of that pain will require us to value His presence more than our quantifiable progress.”

Moving on to Chapter 27 (“Something Old”), Dr. Chole believes Psalm 103:14 speaks to our inability to tame our emotions with logic.  A discrepancy we do well to anticipate.

In conclusion, Oswald Chambers once described this issue with great honesty in his personal diary:

“There is an interesting puzzle in my mind concerning the intuitions born in communion with God. . . .  how little we dare trust anything but our Lord Himself. . . .  It makes it clear that the Holy Spirit must be recognized as the sagacious Ruler in all affairs and not our astute common sense.”

Today’s question: When does frustration lead to temptation to bail for you?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Moral, not intellectual – truth”

About the author

Dave Henning

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