The Ghost Town of Disillusionment

Ghost_TownIn the middle of my life journey, the road I was traveling took an unexpected turn.

I rounded a bend and began encountering multiple trials of pain and loss. The road twisted and turned through a Land of Confusion until I found myself on a narrow path that often ran along the very edge of a canyon called Despair. The signposts I read along the way were for places like Unmet Expectations, Dashed Hopes, and Deep Disappointment.

At last it seemed as though the road ended–along with my journey–when I came upon the ghost town of Disillusionment.

I walked down Main Street in disbelief. The wind howled. Tumbleweed rolled by. I heard the creaking of a swinging door, the banging of a broken shutter. I wandered into the dilapidated structures to find they were just empty shells. The place was completely deserted.

This was my destination? Nothing of what I expected my life to be was here.

In this desolate place, nothing made sense. As I stood in stunned silence, I began to hear questions howling in the wind: “Is there a God? Where is He? Does He care? Do I know Him? How do I encounter Him?”

During my stay in Disillusionment, I felt like a phantom–without substance, without weight, without impact. I was merely a spirit who haunted the ghost town.

One day, I heard a voice. It didn’t come from inside my head, and it wasn’t carried on the wind. It was another Spirit, the Holy Ghost, posing a question to me.

“What is it you want?”

I answered the question three times.

My first response was for relief from my suffering. But that answer sounded hollow to me. My second reply had something to do with discovering my purpose in life. But even that answer sounded tinny in my ears.

Finally, I expressed my heart’s deepest desire. “I want to know You.”

God already knew what I really wanted, but my desire lay buried under so many other things. Over the many miles of difficult road behind me, God had been working to uncover my soul’s deepest longing. He had been clearing away my misplaced hopes, exposing my false assumptions, and removing any of those numbing comforts that quieted my ultimate desire.

As it turns out, Disillusionment was not my destination, but a place I had to pass through on my way to the realized hopes and fulfilled longings that are found in a deeper relationship with God.

We all can become disoriented when we can’t make sense of our circumstances. The psalmists of old wrote poems about their spiritual disorientation and set them to music. Then they invited the entire believing assembly to sing their perplexing questions to God.

In this way, community members shared their common struggle to understand God and to make sense of what He was doing in their lives.

Don’t you think it would be beneficial if we did a little more of that?

6 thoughts on “The Ghost Town of Disillusionment

  1. This post speaks to me a little deeper than most, Dave. It reminds me of Much Afraid, the character in Hinds’ Feet on High Places, which is one of my favorite books of all times. Much Afraid too took a frustrating and painful journey that wasn’t what she expected, and it also led to a better place … eventually.

    God knows I need reminders that disillusionment isn’t wasted. Thank you for this one.

    • On our “unexpected journeys” it seems that God is always taking us through something–never around, over or under. He assures us that He is leading us to a good place. We have to trust and wait for “eventually.”
      Someone gave me a copy of “Hind’s Feet” some time ago. I started the book, but never completed the journey. I’ll have to pick up that story where I left off. Thank you for your comments, Kim.

  2. ” … community members shared their common struggle to understand God and to make sense of what He was doing in their lives.”

    Don’t you think it would be beneficial if we did a little more of that?

    To answer your question: Yes.

    And I believe many, many other believers want that too.

    Often that’s why believers abandon church: it’s not a safe place for wounded people.

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