If you’re feeling disillusioned today, you should be thankful. Why? Because disillusionment is an essential part of coming to terms with reality, which is the only way your life can be transformed.
We all need to be dis-illusioned from time to time—because that means being freed from our illusions. Dictionaries define an “illusion” as “a false mental image produced by misinterpretation of things that actually exist.” Until disillusionment has occurred in our lives, we’re walking in unreality, unable to experience authentic vision.
If you’re honest, you’ll admit that you’ve faced various kinds of disillusionment at one time or another in your life. Perhaps you’ve found yourself disillusioned about the goodness of humanity…the “happily ever after” of your marriage vows…your success as a parent…or God’s desire and ability to work out all things for your good. Or maybe you’ve been disillusioned about the Lord’s promises to heal your sicknesses or provide for your financial needs.
Jesus’ death on the cross was the most disillusioning event in history. His closest followers were devastated. After having high expectations during His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (John 12:12-19), a week later they were hiding out in a locked room for fear of the Jews (John 20:19). Peter and some of the other disciples even sought comfort in turning back to their old occupation of fishing (John 21).
The pain of disillusionment can also be felt in the words of the two disciples walking to Emmaus: “We were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21). Perhaps there was something that you too “were hoping” that failed to come to pass in the way you expected. Your “hoped deferred” has made you heartsick (Proverbs 13:12). But if so, be on the alert—Jesus may be right there walking with you at the very moment you’re complaining that He’s abandoned you.
God, in His painful mercy, will often strip us of false expectations. The disillusioned disciples couldn’t point to any promise Jesus failed to keep. Instead, their disappointment was rooted in their false belief that He would overthrow the Romans and set up an earthly kingdom. Until we are stripped of our own dreams, God can’t give us His dreams—which are far better!
God shakes our false hopes so He can give us a hope that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:26), hope that serves as an “anchor for the soul” (Hebrews 6:19). Not only do the times of testing reveal our faulty belief systems, they also prove the faithfulness of the “heavenly vision” we have been truly given by God (Acts 26:19).
Pastor Marc Lawson
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