Disappointment makes the
||A heavy heart
makes one weary and wary, therefore guard your
for it determines the course of your whole life. (Pvbs.
A simple definition of disappointment might be,
‘Unhappiness caused by our desires and expectations not working out as we
had hoped for.’ Repeated disappointments risk making our hearts weary and
The physical heart is the pump house of our life, the vital organ from which
all other parts of the body derive their function and lend their rhythm. As
Brother Ramon put it in ‘The Flame of Love,’ it is the ‘spring of
motivation, the seat of the passions, the centre of thought processes and
the touchstone of conscience.’
Setbacks, losses and spiritual attacks – we can usually withstand a fair
number of these, unless they hook into past griefs and disappointments, in
which case their accumulated weight risks tipping us over the edge. Periods
of rest may aid recuperation, and reopen blocked channels, but something
more radical may be needed to keep disappointment from leading to a
spiritual cardiac arrest.
Sooner or later, most Christians reach a point where they feel pinned
against the ropes, and all but down and out for the count. This is Moses,
finding not only Pharaoh opposing his obedience to God, but his own people
as well; this is Jeremiah, undergoing torment and lamenting the cost of his
calling; this is Paul, all but foundering beneath pressures that felt too
intense even for his incredible powers of endurance. In each case they dug
||We think you ought
to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went
through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed
beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live
through it. (2 Cor. 1:8)
If we take as our
starting point the thought that God never takes us anywhere He cannot lead
us from, we can have real confidence that He can always find a way to handle
our disappointments. You can probably think of key times when He has done so
in your life.
In this publication we are exploring how disappointment can influence our
responses to life’s challenges and make us reluctant to embrace the Lord’s
call on our lives. We will make the journey from times when our lives feel
as though they are falling apart all the way through to discovering how we
can turn disappointments into a greater desire to embrace the Lord and His
Disappointment is never
passive. It has the potential to infect more areas of our life than the part
immediately affected. It can breed unwholesome bacteria in our heart that
spreads upward to blame God, outward to criticise and oppose those who have
let us down – or it can turn inward to reject the precious things God has
done in and through us. Like an infection, whichever way disappointment
flows, it triggers serious loss of faith, and with it joy, peace and
direction. Resentment follows hard on its heels, together with other toxins,
such as self-pity, envy, bitterness, fear and, inevitably, anger and
Once disappointment finds a lodging in the depths of the heart, it plays a
persistent refrain: ‘I’ve done all this before, and if it didn’t work, then
what’s the point of trying again?’ No wonder Scripture tells us to take up
the shield of faith with which to extinguish every flaming arrow. (Eph.
6:16) A soldier in hand-to-hand combat who keeps his shield by his side will
not last five minutes.
Give an inch to foes like these and horrible spectres threaten to overcome
our hearts: namely, Giant Despair (of Pilgrim’s Progress fame) and his more
subtle, but none the less deadly twin: Cynicism. By the time these have
sucked our hearts dry we no longer have much energy left to indulge
emotional responses: we need a full transplant.
So very much better if we can be proactive at a much earlier stage in
proceedings and pour out our hearts to God and ask Him to turn our
disappointments into His appointments. Almost certainly we will do this best
by praying with people we trust. This refreshes our spirits and re-hones our
cutting edge, because these people are less likely to be influenced by our
sense of unbelief and disappointment.
‘I will hold the Christ
light for you.’
‘Brother let me be
let me be as Christ to you.
I will hold the
Christ light for you
in the night time of your fear.’
There came a time when I could no longer bear
trying to work out my calling in profoundly discouraging
surroundings. On the day I reached rock bottom, I did at least
remember the counsel I have given to so many others and rang a
couple of friends for prayer. One immediately had a picture of me
standing with one foot planted in the very place I was finding so
difficult, and the other planted elsewhere. Because my front foot
was positioned in that way, it balanced the one that found itself in
decidedly more comfortable and familiar surroundings. My equivalent
of the command to cross the Jordan was therefore a commission to
stay put! It greatly bolstered my resolve.
Later that day, another friend pictured the Lord Jesus taking me strongly by
the hand and leading me through a field in the fog. Although there was no
end to the fog in sight, she could see that there was wheat in the field. My
interpretation: the harvest (represented by the wheat) was largely obscured,
but it was undoubtedly there, and would surely be revealed in due time. The
most important thing was the reassurance that it was the Lord who was
directing my steps. Such encouragements are priceless.
Such prayer partnerships are more than a last-ditch rescue act: they are a
strategic key for advancing the Kingdom. I had a picture the other day of a
group of people imprisoned in wooden desks, securely fastened on the outside
by padlocks. It was impossible for them to set themselves free – but it was
comparatively easy for others to come along and open the lock for them.
Because the rescuers who come alongside do not carry the same emotional
baggage, they can help us to gain a better perspective.
What is it that stops us from asking for such help? Usually it is because of
some sense of embarrassment or shame. Throw these thoughts away! Even if we
are only feeling in a heap, we are still embarked on Kingdom work. If it all
feels rather lopsided at present, the time may come when the roles are
reversed, and we can be that ‘other’ person for our friends when they are
There is everything to be said for establishing tried and trusted lines of
communication before we need them. Crises are hardly the time to start
casting around for someone to contact. A friend wrote to me on this subject:
It is so important to have people
in your life who know you well enough to come and rescue you when
you need it. The problem comes when your pride prevents you letting
other people know that you are not coping. Pride says, I will never
need anyone to help me – I can always cope. Even when times are
good, it is wise to think to yourself, One day I'm going to need a
friend, and to make sure that you have the sort of friends who will
be on the lookout for you. That's what I did at a time when I felt
quite comfortable in my own bubble, (this was how I was ‘managing’
my pain before my husband and I split up). God told me clearly that
I needed a prayer partner. Little did I know how much I would need
Keeping the wheels on the wagon: God’s
promises to Joshua
Before exploring in more detail some of the ways in which disappointment
affects our lives, perhaps we can remind ourselves of the awesome moment
when God commissioned Joshua to cross the River Jordan and enter the
I will give you
every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. No one
will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I
was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor
forsake you. Be strong and very courageous. Do not let this Book of
the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so
that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you
will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be
strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Josh.
Many of us are so wary of the over-optimistic claims of the prosperity
gospel that we instinctively shy away from the full implications of what God
is promising us through passages such as this. How did you react to reading
It is never the Word of God that is at fault; only our understanding or
interpretation of it. When Jesus says, ‘Have faith in God,’ the verse could
equally be translated ‘Have the faith of God.’ (Mark 11:22) If we can seize
hold of this awesome challenge to our unbelief and apply it afresh to the
difficult situations we are facing, we will see God going ahead to level the
mountains and to swing wide or even demolish altogether the gates of bronze
that are withstanding us. (Is. 45:2)
If you have travelled down numerous blind alleys, however, ‘believing’ for
this and ‘expecting’ that, you may have reached a point of fearing that you
have been guilty all along of straying into presumption. If you feel as
though the wheels are falling off your faith wagon, now would be a good time
to book yourself a ‘tyre change and reality check’ – which is the subject of
the following section.
Increasing our faith
Take a sheet of paper and draw a ladder graph chart. Summarize the verses we
looked at earlier from Joshua and put this at the top of the working page:
‘Strong and courageous in faith.’ For the middle section, insert a
slogan such as: ‘Trusting in some things, but struggling in others.’
Let the bottom of the page bear the melancholy caption, ‘Feeling
completely overwhelmed. No expectation of God moving.’
Measuring events and emotions by the past three months, rather than by the
mood of the moment, where would you place yourself on such a scale? The Lord
can use this chart to pinpoint areas where you urgently need to be applying
faith. Add in some issue that fits into each of these categories. Then pray
for the Lord to move you up the scale, reversing the damage that
disappointment has caused. As Tozer so beautifully puts it, ‘Repentance is
apologising to God for distrusting Him so long.’
(We might make an exception here for the clinically depressed, who are, for
the time being, unable to help themselves. It is our task to be strong and
supportive for these dear ones, and to have faith for them).
Some people’s understanding of what constitutes ‘victorious’ Christianity is
dangerously naïve. They would, effectively, place their cross in the
‘unusable’ margin at the very top of the graph. Let me take an extreme
example and you will see what I mean. Basing his teaching on Peter’s
miraculous escape from prison, one minister declared, ‘It is pure unbelief
if any Christian is imprisoned for his faith.’
This is the sort of nonsense people believe when they turn an experience
into a doctrine. Was James, martyred for the faith, a lesser soul than
Peter, who was rescued? Was Paul out of God’s will when He experienced the
intense troubles and persecutions the Lord had warned lay in store for him?
(Acts 9:16, 2 Cor. 11:23-27, cf John 16:33) What about the weeping
martyr-church in China, so vibrant in faith, and led by leaders who have,
for the most part, served lengthy, and brutal, prison terms?
Before we throw out the baby with the bath water, however, and write the
prosperity gospel off altogether as a deviation, turn your attention back to
the bottom of the chart you have just created. The bottom of the chart
speaks of nothing greater than the ‘orderly management of decline,’ the fear
of rocking the boat, or pushing out into deeper waters in case it offends or
disappoints. Expectations are minimal because there is no thought that the
Sovereign Lord of the Universe, who is strong and mighty to save, will step
in to move the necessary mountains for us.
Or perhaps you did step out of the boat, mustering all the faith you
possibly could, only to flounder helplessly? It is entirely probable that
you will face a similar situation somewhere along your path, – and your
faith levels are likely to be severely diluted and depleted if you have not
dealt with previous disappointments.
Taking all these things into account, therefore, which do you think God
prefers: people who push the boat out too far and stray too high in their
aims and expectations – or people who never risk attempting anything at all?
If we take the Parable of the Talents as our guide, we will surmise that the
Lord would surely prefer that we were red-hot and full of zeal, rather than
static and lukewarm. (Matt. 25:15-30)
There are at least three pressing reasons why this chart raises issues that
are by no means only theoretical.
1) As we get older most of us are increasingly likely to become discouraged.
The more profoundly we ‘learn’ to respond to challenges in faith, however,
the less likely we are to slip back into leaning on our own resources to
solve our problems when difficulties come our way.
2) Pressure against believers continues to increase across the world from
year to year. The temptation to compromise fights against the call to take a
clear stand for Jesus.
3) People in their twenties and thirties are often enormously creative and
sensitive, but perhaps have been through fewer generational traumas than
their elders, and as a result may be less emotionally resilient. In view of
their high expectations, short-term adrenaline surges need to be undergirded
by perseverance to make long-term targets achievable.
If our character matches our calling we will avoid doing the worst thing
possible: walking away from our calling, our ministry, and our cutting-edge
friends. In the longer term, doing that can only leave us feeling empty and
unfulfilled, dazed at why we have wasted so much energy getting nowhere, and
yet powerless to alter anything.
We make it harder for ourselves if we are obstinate and stubborn – or quick
to put the blame for everything on others. (Pvbs. 19:3) I have a photograph
on my computer screen at the moment of a dog playing tug o’ war. It is a
delightful image, but the dog had clearly never learned the command ‘drop!’
We too need to know both what to let go of, and when. Psychologists
tell us that people in pain often choose to introduce another pain
into their lives at this point to counteract the first pain. It is this
‘coping mechanism’ that lies at the root of much self-harm.
It is easy to derive a false security from holding onto things. People who
are sick often tie their identity into their illness, afraid of how they
would react if they were well again and no longer had the regular flow of
sympathy and support their illness brings them. It is so much easier for the
Lord to work if we are not holding on to things too tightly. As Corrie Ten
Boom put it, ‘it hurts if the Lord has to prise our fingers off!’
By denying ourselves access to people who are flowing in the power of
Christ, we deliberately cut ourselves off from the benefit they would offer.
Some prefer the self-inflicted misery of loneliness, however, because
it gives them the impression of being able to control the pain. If
you are currently facing the temptation to run away – or do so at some
future time, bear in mind that though the pressure may feel almost
overwhelming, the consequences of giving into it cannot fail to be worse.
When we are in a strange place
When strange circumstances come our way, and disappointments lurk close by,
it is worth remembering that what we regard as ‘disappointing’ may actually
turn out to be the Lord’s refining. Yonggi Cho tells of a ten-year period
during his life during which he lived with the constant expectation of a
fatal heart attack, so deeply was God dealing with him. At the end of that
time, He gave him a new heart – and a vastly expanded ministry. Exodus
4:10-12 makes it clear that the Lord has a sovereign purpose in allowing
many things to be as they are.
Do not be dismayed, therefore, when you appear to be surrounded by confusing
and uncertain circumstances. God is refining and the enemy is contesting.
Samuel Johnson wrote, ‘Disappointment, when it involves neither shame nor
loss, is as good as success; for it supplies as many images to the mind, and
as many topics to the tongue.’ There is great wisdom there, but as we all
know, we often do experience real loss and with it, perhaps, intense shame.
It takes great faith to believe that darkness and disappointment can also be
just as much God's training ground as our times of clear progress and
‘encounter’. It is not enough to think in such simplistic terms as, ‘If God
feels a long way away, guess who’s moved!’ It is much nearer the truth to
say, ‘Thank You, Lord, that you know and understand, even when I don’t. Help
me to find Your peace in my heart during this time of confusion and apparent
Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him,
for He shields him all day long,
and the one the Lord loves
rests between his shoulders. (Deut. 33:12)
Knowing that the prospect of suffering appals us, the
devil delights to weigh our spirits down by such an overdose of bad
imagination we feel sure we are heading for yet another disappointment. God,
however, deals in realities, not in hypothetical thoughts. He dispenses
‘designer grace’ as and when we need it, rather than supplying us today with
such a large stock of grace that it will enable us to face all our
difficulties tomorrow. After all, it is a pilgrimage that we are on!
You probably know the story of Corrie Ten Boom, who, as a very young girl,
asked her father what it would be like to die. Her wise and godly father
replied, ‘Before we go to Amsterdam, when do I buy the train tickets?’ ‘Just
before we get on the train, Papa,’ she replied. ‘In the same way, Corrie,
our heavenly Father will always give us what we need when we need it.’ The
more confident we are that this will also be true for us, the less badly we
will take it when short- and even long-term disappointments come our way.
Weighing results that fail to match our
We must accept finite disappointment,
but never lose infinite hope . . .
There can be no deep
disappointment where there is not deep love. (Martin Luther King)
can you believe who receive honour from one another, but do not seek
the honour that comes from the only God? . . . Do not labour for
food that perishes, but for food which endures to eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you because God the Father has set
His seal upon Him. (Jn 5:44, 6:27).
Some people gloss disappointment as a ‘mental upset.’ Unfulfilled
expectations certainly challenge the motivation of our heart. They are often
the means by which we realise that we have become more ‘me-centred’ than we
had realised. Jesus warns us that we are bound to experience disappointment
when the focus of our heart is wrong. May He be like the skilled optician,
who adjusts our lenses until we can see clearly!
Sometimes we overestimate what we are capable of (cf Gal. 6:3) – or we
underestimate how difficult something was going to be, and how much the Lord
needs to do in us before allowing us to succeed. (Deut. 1:41, Josh. 7:3)
Since the journey is as important to the Lord as the outcome, dealing with
our disappointments can realign us more fully with Christ’s will.
During a recent prolonged crisis several people brought us words encouraging
us to embrace a course of action we would by no means have chosen for
ourselves. The call was to ‘do the thing we least wanted to do!’ By the end
of a week, our thinking had turned right around. How precious friends are,
who can see behind our masks, and ‘wound’ as well as affirm. They keep us on
track. (Pvbs. 27:6)
In each situation we need to know whether we are being called to nestle in
the Lord, or to wrestle against spiritual opposition to make something work
out. We need enormous flexibility, and a willingness to hold the tiller
lightly, so that we can change direction as the wind shifts – yet not allow
ourselves to be blown off the course God has set us on.
The vulnerability we feel during times of disappointment risks goading us
into giving way to sudden impulses. As Amy Carmichael put it, ‘True valour
lies, not in what the world calls success, but in the dogged going on when
everything in the man or woman says STOP!’
If we expect our partners to fully back us one hundred per cent of the time,
what happens when we find their support wanting? Are we going to walk out on
the relationship for someone more ‘satisfying’? Or are we prepared to look
more deeply to see what we have done to contribute to their emotional
distancing from us? It may be the same scenario with our pastors, friends
and employers. May the Lord restore our willingness to serve one another out
of reverence for Christ. (Eph. 5:21)
Many of the disappointments we experience in marriage come because we have
not recognised our partner’s true strength and calling. As a result we feed
each other the wrong diet, and end up frustrated. I have explored strategies
that will serve to freshen even the best marriages, and keep us from
experiencing disappointment in them. Click on
Bearing in mind that we usually act in accordance with our heart’s deepest
longings, it is worth double-checking: where are our dominant desires
driving us? If they are towards someone or something we currently do not
possess, we must be doubly careful: we may get what we want! (cf Rom. 1:24)
The more prayerfully we are asking the Lord to line up our desires with His,
the greater the chances that God will provide what we are seeking without
jeopardising other things in the process.
The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the
deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light . . . clothe yourselves
with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the
desires of the sinful nature. (Rom. 13:12,14)
Disappointment from ‘prophetic throwaways’
Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the
gift of prophecy. (1 Cor. 14:1)
In this section we are going to touch on something that undermines our zeal
for the Lord perhaps more than anything else: the sense of being
unappreciated, and even cast aside by the Body of Christ. I am approaching
this section primarily from the perspective of words and promises that have
been uttered too glibly, but we include any disappointment that, perhaps
more than we realise, is weighing us down.
For years, we have lamented the comparative rarity of authentic prophetic
streams. Eager people were waiting for God to move, like passengers at a bus
stop. Recently, like buses that appear in threes, many churches have broken
out in the area of prophecy. As a result, many have been touched and healed,
and significant intercession has been rising for our land.
When prophecies foretell nothing
but expansive blessings, however, promising enhanced leadership
positions, ever widening ministry, church or business growth, some
begin to sound more like pleasant day trips than a commissioned
journey. Only the most authentic address the downsizing and the
‘quiet’ patches that may also be part of the Father’s purpose.
Equally rare is the call to unseen and unsung service that actually
furthers the work of the Kingdom.
The truth is that ‘inflated’ prophecies have wounded
many in the Body of Christ. When respected leaders promise the earth –
personal mentoring, spiritual promotion, financial blessings and so on –
people actively pin their hopes on what may have been said as little more
than a throw-away line.
Recipients are often devastated when they discover how little substance
there is behind these words. They may need serious help to disentangle
themselves from the effects these falsely inflated hopes have induced in
them. It is another reason why prophecies are best heard and tested in the
company of people who know us well. It makes it easier to accept and pray
them through if they ring true, or to hold them at arm’s length if they do
not. Cleland Thomas explores this subject thoughtfully in the chapter
‘Prophetic Madness’ in Broken-hearted Believers (Kingsway). We have also
broached the subject in the article ‘Tired of Church?
When we hear ‘tall’ tales and unlikely prophecies, Ros and I sometimes try
to burst the bubble. Being no strangers to presumption ourselves, we are
particularly alert to anything that leads the soul astray. If the call
survives such ‘pricking,’ well and good – but let everything be brought into
the light for testing. (1 John 4:1) Sometimes the most unlikely words prove
the most authentic and enduringly significant.
Alas, those who entertain grandiose visions in their hearts rarely welcome
such challenges. No wonder they revile the pin-pricking truth-bringer. There
is grief for all concerned at this point – but anything is better than
chasing red herrings! From one day to the next, people slip out of Christian
circles as the result of failing to distinguish between the genuine leading
of the Lord and distorted versions that are forced upon them by
narrow-minded leaders, obsessed with their own vision of ‘truth,’ who demand
compliance from their unsuspecting flocks.
To God’s great sadness, and to the detriment of many, we have a long way to
go before we get the balance right in terms of having mature people on hand
to mentor prophets in training, without in any way crushing their spirits at
the same time. Far too many promising young prophets have had their
apprenticeship stifled through spiritually dominant pastoring that has not
known how to develop their gift wisely.
It is always right to be on the lookout to help those who are struggling on
the fringes. Look for those who are hugging the back rows of our churches,
or floating round the edges. They may only be going through the motions,
having long since lost any real sense of relating to the Almighty. Inwardly,
they are already easing their way towards the exit door.
Kingdom living was never meant to involve living up to a conveyor belt of
‘products’ and ‘models.’ It is all too easy for leaders to fall into the
trap of assuming that if people receive ‘this’ particular blessing, or
‘that’ one, then theirs will be the Church that is most in the flow of the
In the middle of an exuberant
worship time, one wise pastor stopped everything and quietly
addressed one particular individual. ‘Glenda,’ he said in his most
reassuring tone of voice, ‘you’ve been through a difficult time
lately. Just sit quietly. God knows your heart, and He’s going to
meet you tonight!’
On another occasion during a service during which he was encouraging people
not to gloss over the realities of their situations, he told the
congregation that he himself had been through a difficult time. When his
daughter, who was unmarried, had a baby, the man left her to look after the
baby on her own. Rather than being weighed down by shame, the pastor brought
the baby to the meeting and smiled as he saw the baby beaming back at him.
‘This little one needs a male role model,’ he declared. ‘For the time being,
If God has given us goals and visions, we are blessed. They will stretch our
faith, direct our days and expand the Kingdom. We should by no means shrink
back from attempting things that might lead to deep disappointment if they
do not succeed (Heb. 10:38-39) – but neither need we be ashamed if God
allows them to be withdrawn from us. Our call is to draw close to Him rather
than to chase visions, goals or blessings in themselves.
Throwing off the pangs of disappointment
My spirit is broken, my days are
cut short, the grave awaits me.
My days have passed, my plans are shattered, and so are the desires
of my heart.
Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways,
and those with clean hands will grow stronger. (Job 17:1,9,11)
Have you ever felt so crushed that you have wondered out loud, ‘Lord, what
is to become of me?’ In Your God is too small, J.B. Phillips stated an
important truth: ‘You cannot worship a disappointment.’ He was thinking of
people who feel that God has let them down – or that they are a
disappointment to Him, as well as to the ‘significant others’ in their
lives. May I recommend my article ‘Strength to the Weary, based on Isaiah
It is good to remind ourselves of how God has kept us through the years, and
given us so many good things. As a naked act of faith, accept that God knows
what he is doing. He is ordering our lives aright. To quote the words of Tim
Hughes’s song, ‘I’ve had questions’:
When hope is lost, I’ll call You Saviour,
When pain surrounds, I’ll call You healer,
When silence falls, You’ll be the song within my heart
Scripture promises that ‘we will shine like the stars in the universe as
we hold out the word of life.’ (Phil. 2:15-16) We are being turned into
diamonds – and these can only be formed by being subjected to hard shocks
and intense pressure. The process is painful but the end result is glorious:
we will sparkle in His land like jewels in a crown. (Zech. 9:16) The
righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. (Matt.
This is a prayer for those who feel crushed and bowed down by
disappointment. Underlying it is a simple and joyous thought: it only takes
one touch from the Lord to rekindle our hearts. We never know what God can
make of our lives and do through us until we give Him the opportunity to do
so. He knows us well enough to start in time, and to take account of our
detours. He can make all grace abound to us once more!
Lord of all comfort,
that You have such imaginative ways of turning all difficulties
around for good.
I give You now the things I have been holding back from praising You
for . . .
In Jesus’ name, I come against the dead weight that disappointment
would place in my heart.
There is much I cannot change, and much I cannot do until You move,
but this I can do: I give you the love and trust of my heart.
Where would I be without You, Lord? You are my strength and my song!
Be glorified in Jesus’ name!
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed,
Thank You that the things that affect our hearts do not change You
as You watch over us. You remain the same – constant, and faithful,
entirely worthy of worship, praise and adoration.
How would you define the opposite of disappointment? Evidence of success and
hopes fulfilled? A temporary boost? A feeling of encouragement or a sense of
being comforted and supported, from within and without; a profound
happiness? Or perhaps a sense of relief? Given that this article is
primarily about our hearts, and that we have taken time out to explore where
we are focussing our desires. I thought it would be appropriate to close
this section with these precious words by Frederick Faber:
But none honours God like the thirst of desire,
Nor possesses the heart so completely with Him;
For it burns the world out with the swift ease of fire,
And fills life with good works till it runs o'er the brim.
Then pray for desire, for love's wistfullest yearning,
For the beautiful pining of holy desire;
Yes, pray for a soul that is ceaselessly burning
With the soft fragrant flames of this thrice happy fire.
For the heart only dwells, truly dwells with its treasure,
And the languor of love captive hearts can unfetter;
And they who love God cannot love Him by measure,
For their love is but hunger to love Him still better.
This material, including the photograph from Shetland, is copyright Robert
Weston 2007. It may be freely copied or forwarded for the benefit of
individuals or house groups, provided the source is attributed. The photo
speaks of the darkness of disappointment in the foreground, but with the
light of God behind it.