In Roman mythology, Dis Pater, Father Dis, was the ruler of the underworld. He was equivalent to Hades in the Greek pantheon.
Although his name is allegedly a contraction of the Latin word ‘dives’ for rich, and is the very opposite of the prefix ‘dis’, lack of or not, there’s an appropriate aura to connecting Dis Pater with dishearten, disillusion, disrespect, dishonour, disunity, disconnect, discontent, disapprove, distrust, disown, disempower… and hundreds more ‘dis’ words.
Life is full of disappointments. People let us down. Situations set us back. Our fallen world subjects us to futility and frustration. And sooner or later, these annoyances and hindrances nudge us towards disappointment in God. We’ve been encouraged to have more faith for healing, more faith for overcoming, more faith for risking, more faith, more faith, more faith… and yet our life has become an unsalvageable mess. We might be able to pick our way painfully out of the rubble, but there’s been a lot of collateral damage to relationships, finances and reputation—and it will take half a dozen miracles and half a lifetime to restore some of these.
Why, we ask ourselves, didn’t God intervene when we needed Him? Why not long before it reached the nuclear implosion and ground-zero stage? How can we trust Him to restore when it’s turned out we couldn’t trust Him to save?
Some of us can admit to disappointment in God. We know from both Scripture and experience that hope deferred makes the heart very, very sick.
On the other hand, some of us are so deep in denial we struggle to admit our disillusionment with Him. Hidden in some shadowy corner of our soul is a belief we can’t quite acknowledge—and that’s that God will answer the prayers of other people, but not the cries of our own heart. We nod when people say, ‘God loves you,’ all the while ignoring that orphan desperation that waits to be noticed and never is.
We speak daily words of affirmation that drop readily from our lips but never address the brokenness within. Repentance repairs the heart disconnected from God through the damage of discouragement and disillusionment. Repentance is simply doing an about-face, deciding on a u-turn, completing a 180 and, instead of heading away from God, choosing to move towards Him. Actually following Him will need His help every step of the way—all He asks of us is to make the choice.
At the crossroads marked IF and IF NOT, He asks us to choose the path to life: the steep and narrow ascent, not the broad road to destruction. He asks us to say NO to our coping mechanisms, to repent of using them as our ever-present help in times of trouble. He asks us to choose Him first in a crisis, not last. He asks to run to Him as our shield and strength, and hide in Him as our mighty fortress and tower.
This is Grace Drops and I’m Anne Hamilton. May the Lord restore your hope in Him today.
Thank you to Lorna Skinner of www.riversofmusic.co.uk for the background music.