Posted by: ritagone | August 30, 2017

JB Phillips’ “The Newborn Christian” devotional


One of my best devotional books right now is J.B. Phillips (“Your God is Too Small,” The New Testament in Modern English, “Letters to Young Churches”) book “The Newborn Christian,” which I am enjoying immensely and finding extremely satisfying very early in the morning as a kick-off to the day!!   Below is an excerpt in a section entitled False Gods, and this one is subtitled The Disappointer.  I loved it because it fit so well with my studying and research into the book of Job, but it’s appropriate to all of us at any time.  So read it and let its words sink into your soul today.


To some people the mental image of God is a kind of blur of disappointment.  “Here,” they say resentfully and usually with more than a trace of self-pity, “is One whom I trusted, but He let me down.”  The rest of their lives is consequently shadowed by this letdown.  Thenceforth there can be no mention of God, church, religion, or even parson without starting the whole process of association with its melancholy conclusion: God is a Disappointment.


Some, of course, rather enjoy this never-failing well of grievance.  The years by no means dim the tragic details of the Prayer that was Unanswered or the Disaster that was Undeserved.  To recall God’s unfaithfulness appears to give them the same ghoulish pleasure that others find in recounting the grisly details of their “operation.”  Others find, of course, that a God who has Himself failed is the best possible excuse for those who do not wish to be involved in any moral effort or moral responsibility.  Any suggestion of obeying or following God can be more than countered by another glance at the perennial Grievance…


The people who feel that God is a Disappointment have not understood the terms on which we inhabit this planet.  They are wanting a world in which good is rewarded and evil is punished – as in a well-run kindergarten.  They want to see the good man prosper invariably, and the evil man suffer invariably, here and now.  There is, of course, nothing wrong with their sense of justice.  But they misunderstand the conditions of this present temporary life in which God withholds His Hand, in order, so to speak, to allow room for His plan of free will to work itself out.  Justice will be fully vindicated when the curtain falls on the present stage, the houselights go on, and we go out into the Real World.


There will always be times when from our present limited point of view we cannot see the wood for the trees.  Glaring injustice and pointless tragedy will sometimes be quite beyond our control and our understanding.  We can, of course, postulate an imaginary God with less good sense, love, and justice than we have ourselves; and we may find a perverse pleasure in blaming Him.  But that road leads nowhere.  You cannot worship a Disappointment.


  1. Oh my gosh this is so relevant to our discussion I was having with my daughter Summer and her agnostic boyfriend. Actually it was a letter Summer sent Bill about the rioting in South Carolina and Bill sent a beautiful letter back to her anyhow this is so so relevant thank you thank you I will forward it to his many people as I know could benefit! I’m so excited for a lunch on Friday. Why don’t you come over here and I’ll make you that good dressing that you love remember ? I haven’t made it in years it’s Apple something and I’ll put some chicken in it does that sound good ? What time is best for you I am flexible and usually get home from yoga around 1115 1130… can’t wait for our lunch the timing is perfect and doing a devotion to different times in an upcoming retreat and my community Bible study and I need a few one-liners from you as you have been for the last 30 years such a wealth of knowledge in my life!! Love u!!

    Sent from my iPhone


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