Friday, April 19, 2013

Disillusionment with God

Our general populace has arrived at a loss of faith and trust in God. 

Some people find it easier to believe there is some “higher power” but will not call it God.  Is that “higher power” luck, fortune, the stars, the planets, or the universe?  What exactly is it?  Why don't they call it God? 

Other people simply choose to believe there is nothing greater or more powerful than man.  Man is his own god—his own master and commander.  After all, life on this earth can be quite chaotic at times.  Why waste time believing in a God that doesn’t stop the “bad” things from happening? 

And there are those people who start out having a faith in God but find themselves at a crossroads where they question that faith or give it up altogether. 

Why this crisis of faith in God? 

I believe there are various factors.  Some are more tangible and understandable than others.  The one I want to address in this post is disillusionment.  It is one of the more tangible factors mankind faces today. defines disillusionment in the following manner:

verb (used with object)
1. to free from or deprive of illusion, belief, idealism, etc.; disenchant.
2. a freeing or a being freed from illusion or conviction; disenchantment.

Disillusionment is simply a problem within us created by the clashing animosity between who God is and what He does and who we are and what we want. 

God is God.  He is steadfast and unchanging.  He was, He is, and He always will be.  He is not mentally unstable.  He’s not psychotic.  He’s not weak.  God is who He is, not who we want or wish Him to be.  He cannot be manipulated or cajoled into doing anything He did not already plan on doing.  God will not be conformed to our ideal.  God will not be brought down to whatever lesser images we concoct of Him. 

God is Father, and we are His children.  He is a Father way beyond any earthly fatherhood role we are familiar with.  He is an all knowing and completely wise Father, and we are His little children with much to learn and understand and a lot of growing up to do.  Not only is God Father, but He is also Creator.  He is the very one who molded and delicately and expertly crafted each one of us.  He knows us inside and out and all around.  There is nothing He does not know about us or our lives.

Motherhood has taught me volumes about our relationship with God.  When my children were little, they loved their Mommy and Daddy with abandon.  They trusted Mommy and Daddy implicitly and looked up to them.  They believed all Mommy and Daddy taught them and daily sought their protection, love, and comfort.  They did not question Mommy and Daddy’s actions and even desired to be like them. 

“Look at my Mommy and Daddy!”  “Aren’t they grand?” 

“When I grow up, I want to be just like them.”

“Mommy and Daddy, can I help you with your work?  I want to work alongside you.”

“I trust you in spite of the boundaries you have set for me.”

“Mommy and Daddy, I’m hurt.  Will you comfort me?  Your love and attention makes me feel so much better.  And I trust you will make everything alright.”

“Thank you for taking care of me and protecting me.”

I relate the attitudes of young children to people whom have recently been given the faith to believe in God or to those whose faith is currently strong and unwavering.  They admire God.  They look up to Him and regularly seek Him.  They trust God and are thankful for all that He is to them and how He cares for them.  They desire to be more like Him and work alongside Him, and they trust His boundaries.  They are absolutely certain that God has their best interest at heart and has perfect plans for them, even when life screams differently.  And even when they are corrected by Him, they understand it’s necessary and that God does it out of love, not spite.

“My Father God, He loves me beyond measure.  I am certain I can trust Him.”

“He will comfort me and lead me through the seasons of pain, suffering, and despair.”

“In Father’s will, I know all things are possible and nothing is impossible.”

“He is working in my life.  He does not and will not ever forsake me.”

“I can run to Father any time and find comfort and strength to endure.”

“God will bring me joy and blessings in His perfect time.”

“Thank you, Father God.  I am yours, and I will trust you.”

As years pass and children enter the adolescent years, they crave independence and freedom from the guidance and protection of their parents.  After experiencing years of utmost trust in their Mommy and Daddy, they may suddenly find themselves facing a time of distrust and resentment.  Adolescents constantly question their parent’s intentions and motives.  Suddenly, Mom and Dad are not grand anymore—they are annoying and inconvenient.  They appear to only get in the way of whatever the adolescent wants.  Their parent’s boundaries are now terribly constricting and can’t possibly be for any of their good.  Life hasn’t turned out the way the adolescent had ideally envisioned.   And Mom and Dad are not cooperating and rubbing them the wrong way.  Life’s problems come and go and seem to last way too long.  Doubts bombard from all directions as the adolescent becomes more aware of the world they live in and the “stuff” that happens in that world on a regular basis.  They are tempted to throw all caution to the wind and explore and venture out as their desires and passions lead them without regard for the consequences.  They seek to have fun and live their lives without restrictive boundaries.  Patience is abandoned and replaced by immediate gratification.

“Mom and Dad, I hate your rules.  They are stupid!”

“I know exactly what I’m doing.  Trust me.  I’ve got this under control.”

“Stop telling me what I can and can’t do!  I will do what I’m convinced is best.”

“I can’t wait to be out of this house and out of your control!”

“I have to do what I want now!  I may never have another chance.  Just get out of the way.”

“My parents don’t understand or know anything.  They are so stupid.”

In that scenario the adolescent has arrived at a disillusionment with their parents.  There is a clash between their parents’ authority and their own will.  Their parents are not behaving as the adolescent would like them to behave.  Their parents are not cooperating with their plans.  As adolescents clash with their parents, so does mankind with Father God. 

“All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight,
but the Lord weighs the motives.”
(Proverbs 16:2)

At some point in time throughout our lives, we may also come to question and rebel against God’s motives, actions, and boundaries.  One day, implicitly trusting God doesn’t seem practical or helpful anymore.  In fact, it may seem utterly ridiculous.  God’s wisdom, ways, and instructions feel annoying and constrictive.  His behavior seems irrational and senseless.  We may find that we are determined to have something a certain way and may plead God to do this or that, in so and so manner, while also expecting Him to act immediately.   We may make promises to be a good child hoping to convince Him to do as requested, and truly believe that our way is the best way. Trials and painful sufferings come and go and seem unending.  Life hasn’t turned out the way it was anticipated.  Doubts stab like sharp arrows and insert themselves into what had been a childlike faith.  The patience to endure and persevere is severely tested, and under emotional duress it may be thoughtlessly tossed aside for immediate gratification or complete escape. 

 “God?  What God?  There is no God.”

“If there really is a God, then bad things wouldn’t happen to me or in this world!”

“If I were God, I would have done it so much better this way.”

“What kind of God lets … ?”

“I don’t care what God says.  He’s outdated.”

“I’ve begged God for help, and He is not answering me.  He’s not listening, and I’m through waiting for Him to do something!  I’m taking charge.”

“Rely and wait on God?  No way!  I’m relying on my intelligence and taking the bull by the horns.  Humanity and mental intelligence is the real power on this earth.”

“If God really loved me, I wouldn’t suffer like this.”

“Who’s my god?  Well, that would be me!  I’m master of my own fate.  I will be my own salvation in whatever way I see fit.”

In the same manner an adolescent becomes disillusioned with their life under their parent’s roof, so people become disillusioned with their life under God’s care and direction.  We desperately want our way, and we want it now.  We throw mental or emotional tantrums to get our own way.  We are convinced we know best and when God does not do what we want Him to do, we want to hightail it right out from being under His care.  We erroneously think we know better and can do a better job with our lives.

“The mind of man plans his way,
but the Lord directs his steps.” 
(Proverbs 16:9)

Let’s get this straight. 

God is not a magic genie in a lamp.  You don’t rub His lamp, wait for Him to pop out and say to you with a big smile on His face, “Your wish is my command”, as you proceed to state your order on how you want things to be or turn out in your life.  What we want out of this life and what we plead for is not what directs God’s hands or actions. God is His own man, per say.  He will do as He will do, and He will be as only He can be.  He will not be manipulated or controlled by us.   We can plead, we can bat our eyes, we can pretend to be good and sweet, and we can promise Him anything.  But these things are not what drive God.  God drives God.  He alone is God over all.  There is no other entity or power that controls Him.  HE alone is Creator. HE alone is Father.  HE alone is All Knowing.  HE alone is Wisdom.  HE alone is in total control.  HE alone is Savior.

“I am YHWH and there is no other; Except for Me, there is no Elohim…there is no one apart from Me; I am YHWH, and there is no other. Former of light and Creator of darkness, Maker of good and Creator of evil, I, YHWH, make all these things…I Myself made the earth and created humanity on it; I, My hands stretched out the heavens, and all their hosts have I instructed…there is no other Elohim apart from Me; a righteous El and a Savior; There is none except Me. Turn toward Me and be saved, all the limits of the earth, for I am El, and there is no other…”  (Isaiah 45:5-7, 12, 21-22)

We live in an era of instant gratification.  We want what we want and we want it right now!  Wait for something?  God forbid we have to wait for something or suffer long!  Technology is at our constant fingertips and “It better work, doggone it.  And work fast!”  Microwave living—that’s what we demand 24/7.  We expect overnight success and overnight results.  We all want to be “winners” all the time and no one in our circle of loved ones deserves any less.  Everyone should get a prize whether they have earned it or not.  We all want everybody’s “fair share”.  We want to receive abundantly without being willing to endure and pour out the blood, sweat, and tears that it takes to earn it.  And if we must bear suffering, it better be over quick because we no longer believe or trust the truth that it is necessary to undergo trials and suffering to build greater character, perseverance, compassion, love, hope, grace, and gratefulness.

“…tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;  and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the holy spirit who was given to us…”  (Romans 5:3-5)

We ask for patience and run from situations that will develop that patience.  We want and demand what we are not willing to work for or willing to give to others.  It’s an era of immediate gratification and self-absorption.  It’s an era where it’s easier to trust and rely on self than on God.  After all, self can be controlled and told what to do and when to do it, right?  But God cannot be.  He cannot be speeded up or slowed down, and we have no idea what He has in store at the next turn.  Can we even trust Him?!   Trusting in God requires letting go of the illusion that we are in control.   And that’s a very hard illusion to release. 

If we are disillusioned with God, it comes from our misguided ideas that we can tell Him what to do and how to do it, that He will obey our commands, and that the life we want and  plan is the life we’ll get.  I have a plaque hanging on my kitchen wall that appropriately says something along these lines:

“We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned
so as to be able to live the life that is waiting for us.”

As long as we insist on trying to force and have our way and our plans, no matter what, we are going to feel frustrated and disillusioned with God.  He has a life planned for us, and it involves the life He is giving us at this very moment.  While it may not be the fairy tale we had scripted in our minds, even if we cannot comprehend it and it doesn’t make any sense, Father God does know what He is doing.  Only He can see the future ahead.  He is the Weaver of the Grand Tapestry.  Every string is necessary—the black, brown, white, blue, yellow, green, red, etc. 

I have a friend who enjoys the craft of “rug hooking”.  Rug hooking involves taking strips of material and pulling them through a stiff base such as burlap.  The finished product is a beautiful tapestry.  The other day, I was visiting my friend and she was working on her latest project.  On her lap was her work in progress, and at her feet was a box full of a mess of strings and cloth.  She explained to me that she would find all kinds of random pieces of clothing at thrift stores and then unravel the material and use it for her projects.  The box at her feet was full of different pieces of cloth in a wide array of colors. 
She admitted to me that she thought some of the material colors were ugly, but after that material had been set in just the right place in her tapestry it looked beautiful.  It had a perfect place where it belonged. I considered how much her craft was like God’s handiwork with all of us.  He takes all the strings (experiences) of our lives and He intertwines and blends them all together creating a great masterpiece which none of us can currently comprehend.  It doesn’t matter the color or the material or what it has been through or whether we think it’s ugly or pretty.  It's all an intricate part of His tapestry.  In God’s hands, nothing is a waste.  Nothing.  It all has importance and meaning.  On their own, the strips of material may seem insignificant or unnecessary to one who does not understand the work of the artist.  But when all those little pieces of material are put into their proper place on the tapestry, it is evident the tapestry could not have been complete without every single one.  And so it is with our lives and God’s ultimate plan.  God does this sort of thing in each one of our lives with all our experiences, and He is also doing the same on an even grander scale with all of His children combined.

“For I am reckoning that the sufferings of the current era do not deserve the glory about to be revealed for us.”  (Romans 8:18)

I realize that God’s character has been portrayed in false ways which have helped to feed disillusionment among His children.  That topic is for another day and another post.  For now, I want to summarize this post with the following realities: 

Disillusionment settles within us because we are not getting what we want from God. 

God will not forsake His plans or lower His standards to conform to our human desires.

We were never promised a problem free existence or a painless life.  In fact, we have been promised that we will have trials and tribulations.

While we may be under a deceptive illusion that we are masters of our own fate or that our (imaginary) free will reigns over God’s plans, it is simply not so. 

God’s will reigns over all. 

God alone is supreme. 

He is our potter, and we are His clay.  He shapes, He molds, He breaks apart, and He rebuilds again according to His purposes.  He creates vessels of honor and dishonor, and each is part of His plan.

Our lives are in a constant cycle of being built up, torn down, and built up again.  God is in complete charge of that cycle.  He does not ever neglect or forsake His work.  He will carry it through until completion.

Our faith is a gift from God.  It is by God’s grace if we believe.  Our faith is authored and perfected through Christ.  It is not what we do, but what He does in us.

It is by God’s will that we live and breathe and move and have our life this very day. 

In this life, we will have problems, we will face physical and emotional pain, and we will suffer in one way or another. 

When life is hard and we face difficulties, we can choose to be mad at God, blame Him, be disillusioned with Him, or turn our backs to Him.  It will not matter to Him.  He will remain the faithful God He is, and His truths will continue to stand true.  He will still be the Potter and Maestro of our lives.

Every experience of joy, sorrow, and even the mundane is a preparation for the future.

In this life, we will experience joy and blessings which we could not appreciate without the times of suffering.

As strange as it may be, the event today that feels like the greatest tragedy in your life may bring some of the greatest of blessings in your future.  Don’t give up at that darkest moment before the dawn and miss the sight of a beautiful sunrise and the joy of a blessed day ahead.

We have been promised that we are always loved with a boundless, unconditional, and unending love.  God’s love cannot and will not fail, no matter what we do or don’t do in this earthly life. 

We have been promised that we are under God’s constant care and direction and that He is working everything out according to His plan.  His plan culminates in an ultimate and perfect redemption of all.  We may not see a glimpse of that during this brief life in the flesh, but we will see it clearly in the future life He has for us.

In all that we may face in this life, “we are more than conquering through Him [Christ] Who loves us”.  (Romans 8:37)

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor messengers, nor sovereignties, nor the present, nor what is impending, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord.”  (Romans 8:38-39)

“For since, in fact, through a man [Adam] came death, through a Man [Jesus Christ] also comes the resurrection of the dead.  For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified.  Yet each in his own class: the Firstfruit, Christ; thereupon those who are Christ’s in His presence; thereafter the consummation, whenever He may be giving up the kingdom to His God and Father, whenever He should be nullifying all sovereignty and all authority and power.  For He must be reigning until He should be placing all His enemies under His feet.  The last enemy is being abolished: death.  For He subjects all under His feet.  Now whenever He may be saying that all is subject, it is evident that it is outside of Him Who subjects all to Him.  Now, whenever all may be subjected to Him [Christ] then the Son Himself also shall be subjected to Him [Father God] Who Subjects all to Him, that God may be All in all.”  (1 Corinthians 1:15:21-28)

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.  Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  (Ephesians 6:10-17)

As I wrote this post, I thought of a song that I love called “Held”.  It is sung by Natalie Grant.  May you enjoy this video of it which includes the lyrics.

Related posts:


  1. Greetings...
    You said, "God will not be conformed to our ideal. God will not be brought down to whatever lesser images we concoct of Him." Then you immediately follow that with,"God is Father, and we are His children. He is a Father way beyond any earthly fatherhood role we are familiar with." Which to me, is precisely bringing him down to "lesser images we concoct of him". And besides, I'm sure there are many, many people that cannot even begin to relate to a father figure so therefore cannot relate to a God from this analogy or perspective. I fear God may be a monster considering the events in Boston this week, or Sandy Hook, or Aurora, or families of those lost on 911, etc. Not to mention the horrors of what we as Americans do in Iraq or Afghanistan. Try asking the parents of the little 8 year old boy who was blown to bits in Boston this week. Ask the parents of the children of Sandy Hook. If God is the author of this horrendous world we live in then something is definitely wrong. I can't imagine that he couldn't be more creative than that... than to teach lessons by killing innocent people at the hands of his "vessels made for dishonor" such as the 2 suspects in Boston or the pilots of the planes that crashed into the Twin Towers. Something is wrong... very wrong. I don't buy it. Please convince me otherwise if you have answers to this dilemma. I'm not disillusioned because of my life or things that have happened in my life, but I struggle with what goes on all around me. Severely struggle. Thanks.

    1. “clozoe”, thanks for reading and for your comment. Regarding the image of God being Father, I used it for a couple of reasons. The main one being that in the Bible, He is spoken of as being Father. Since He is spoken of as such, and we are also referred to being His children, I used that for the analogy in my post about children, adolescents, and their parents. God reveals Himself in multiple roles, i.e. Creator, Father, Savior, etc. And I did state the fact that He really cannot be fully compared to an earthly Father because He has attributes earthly fathers do not possess. Therefore, I do not believe calling him Father and presenting him as such is lesser.

      You are right that many people cannot even begin to relate to a father figure due to life’s experiences and could not relate to the analogy I presented. Analogies are simply analogies. They do not fit all situations one hundred percent, and they will not make sense to everyone because we are all so unique. This analogy was simply the one that I was prompted to use in this particular post.

      I understand your thoughts that you fear God may be a monster considering the tragic events that we observe happening all around our world. People do terrible things to other people. I understand you questioning the reason for such events and asking why God couldn’t “be more creative than that”. I don’t blame you for not wanting to buy it and totally understand your struggle. Over the years, I have asked God similar questions many times. And I still do.

    2. Obviously, I am not God, and I cannot fully know or explain to you exactly why He has ordained things to be the way they are. I can only share the understanding I have been given thus far as I have asked my own hard questions. One particular day years ago, I was really hammering God about such things, and the answer I received was simply this: “The immense joy, goodness, and glory that are to come in the future will make this earth’s tragedies seem miniscule and like a tiny little blip in time.” It goes along with the verse “For I am reckoning that the sufferings of the current era do not deserve the glory about to be revealed for us.” (Romans 8:18) I have come to understand that mankind must have contrast to appreciate anything at all. How can I possibly appreciate someone’s love and the value of it, if I have never known hatred? How can I value joy if I don’t understand sorrow? How can I value life if there is no death? It is too easy for mankind to take things for granted and find them unimportant. I have also come to understand that contrast will also lead me to appreciate the immense joy, goodness, and glory that God will be revealing in the future. How can any of that mean anything to me in the future if I have never experienced its opposite? Ultimately, God will reveal to all mankind how He is able to redeem anything and everything, no matter how vile or tragic. Ultimately, He will display the magnificence of being able to take the worst, most awful events or the greatest vessels of dishonor and redeem them all. As human beings we have very limited sight and understanding. The tangible, physical, and earthly things are super important to us while the spiritual or heavenly things of God are not so much. I believe this is why we observe tragedies such as Boston or other massacres or abuses or deaths and they absolutely feel like they like they worst thing ever. And humanly speaking they are! No argument there. As a mother, it would be the absolute worst thing ever to have to endure one of my children being killed. Death is most horrendous to us but only because we haven’t experienced the glory of the resurrection yet. I guess what I’m trying to say is that no matter the most dreadful ugliness that happens on this earth, I believe that what God will be doing in the future will outdo and outshine them all and prove His Godhood over all. I don’t believe we could ever appreciate His Redemption if there was nothing to be redeemed. How can we appreciate what God is capable of doing if there is no platform for Him to do it on?

      I suppose we could choose to not believe in God at all because He seems like a monster who lets terrible things happen on this earth. But even if I did, the terrible things would truly be even more horrible. Because without God and the Hope He is and He offers during the present or for the future, then there is no hope left whatsoever. What am I to hope in? To simply resign myself to a chaotic and messy life experience for a few years that ends in a final death of this body and then “that’s all folks”. What hope is that? What hope do I have for tomorrow if I can only resign myself to a miserable earthly existence full of trials have no rhyme or reason and that will never be redeemed? What hope can I have for tomorrow if I do not hope and trust that God is taking the “bad” and the “good” in my life and making something splendid from them combined? I toyed with that idea once (of walking away from God), and I share some details about it in my “God is Hope” post.

      Possibly, some of the “related posts” I suggested at the end of this one may help to answer some of your questions and shed more light on what we are discussing. Thanks again. I appreciate your comments and questions, and I do understand your struggle.


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