God’s Voice Within.2

by admin on November 20, 2012

2 Corinthians 3-7
Reflections for 18 November 2012

Homework from last week: three questions:

What are the sources of my motivations? What are the consequences of my actions? How will this draw me closer to / further away from God?

Today we’ll consider times of desolation and consolation. I am in desolation when I am empty of Faith, Hope, Love; sense of God’s closeness. And I am full of a combination of: agitation, boredom, fear and worry, secrecy.

I am in consolation when I have Faith, Hope, Love; sense of Gods closeness; peace (shalom); great desires; transparency

This is a daily process of discernment. Careful intentionality.

2 Corinthians. Paul expands the usual Greek letter form of a brief wish for the blessings of the gods to be with the recipients. Here Paul expresses his deepest desires for the Corinth community. We are talking about a small intimate community of Jesus followers, struggling in a culture that demands another way to approach life.

Consolation/comfort used 15 times in 5 verses! Paul wants to create an atmosphere in which his hearers will experience his sufferings and theirs as one and the same. Desolation/suffering here is because these people are Christians. They suffer for the sake of Jesus jail, riots, false accusation in court, broken business/homes Ephesus for example.

Consolation is not the removal of desolation/suffering, nor the assurance that everything is OK. It is knowing Jesus Christ and the power of his resurrection in a deeper and more profound way. Paul calls this “the fellowship of his sufferings.” This is vital view of “church” the transference of comfort from one to another. ML: one beggar telling another beggar where to get bread.

Consolation/desolation – comfort/suffering is not individualistic equations; it is about the purification and strengthening of the Body of Christ. What affects you, affects me.

How to discern God’s will during times of desolation?
• Name the experience. Trauma = experience seeking articulation. Daniel Siegel healing happens when we learn to make sense of life. (In reference to our parents and entering the doorway to mature adulthood). AA Hi, my name is XXXX and I’m…… Naming an act in blunt terms reveals its smallness before the love and mercy of God.

• Avoid making changes and important decisions. The big picture of life gets blurred and obscure.

• Rely on support network.

o Mentors. Wisdom of experience. (Elders in early church). Good listener, self-differentiated, affirming, allows you to make decisions.
o Companions. Cum + panis. Trustworthy of personal aspects. Sense of humor.
o Faith community 2000 years of shared reflection on any spiritual problems I experience. People with same great desires and insipid temptations, lifting prayers to God.

• Have faith that God will make good use of desolation. Story of Joseph in Egypt. Consider Job crying out to God gave a deeper experience of the Almighty. This calls forth “difficult graces” that give the potential of receiving. NB—not a good idea to tell one is desolation to get over it. This is “heads up” stuff—be prepared. Patience; repentance; humility.

How to discern God’s will during times of consolation?
• Observe the course of your thoughts. What was I thinking? Discovering the thread can be a breakthrough in the pursuit of self-awareness.

• Attend to your automatics. (Vulnerabilities) places, people, topics, times, personal traits (moody, worrywart, passionate) What’s your defensiveness mechanisms? NB—the Four Horsemen in Gottman’s marriage work Contempt; Criticism; Defensiveness; Stonewalling (Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work)

• Seek God in the painful moments of the past. Can you recognize God working there? Do not allow your inability / agnosticism here be the final word. More will be revealed. Psalm 130—I wait for the Lord and in his word I put my hope.

Next Week: Making Decisions on Discernment.

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