• W. Austin Gardner

love infected with disappointment



Perhaps, as believers today, we know God loves us. We really believe that. But if we were to more closely examine how we actually relate to the Father moment by moment—which reveals our actual theology, whatever we say we believe on paper—many of us tend to believe it is a love infected with disappointment. He loves us; but it’s a flustered love. We see him looking down on us with paternal affection but slightly raised eyebrows: “How are they still falling short so much after all I have done for them?” we picture him wondering. We are now sinning “against light,” the Puritans would say; we know the truth, and our hearts have been fundamentally transformed, and still we fall. And the shoulders of our soul remain drooped in the presence of God. Once again, it is a result of projecting our own capacities to love onto God. We do not know his truest heart.


Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020), 189–190.


He loved us in our mess then. He’ll love us in our mess now. Our very agony in sinning is the fruit of our adoption. A cold heart would not be bothered. We are not who we were.


When you sin, do a thorough job of repenting. Re-hate sin all over again. Consecrate yourself afresh to the Holy Spirit and his pure ways. But reject the devil’s whisper that God’s tender heart for you has grown a little colder, a little stiffer. He is not flustered by your sinfulness. His deepest disappointment is with your tepid thoughts of his heart. Christ died, placarding before you the love of God.


Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020), 194.

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