Beyond my own understandings

So then, from this point on we won’t recognize people by human standards. Even though we used to know Christ by human standards, that isn’t how we know him now. So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!

All of these new things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and who gave us the ministry of reconciliation. In other words, God was reconciling the world to himself through Christ, by not counting people’s sins against them. He has trusted us with this message of reconciliation. ~2 Cor. 5:16-19 (CEB)

What is of God’s new reality and what is of the old, dying reality? As we seek conscious and living communion with God, how do we distinguish between God’s activity and the many less than benign forces in the world? “He brought me out into a broad place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me” (2 Sam. 22:20). These words, voiced by David celebrating God’s help in victory over enemies, offer dramatic images or understanding the mysterious work of discerning the spirits…

True discernment calls us beyond the well-tended gardens of conventional religious wisdom to the margin between the known and the unknown, the domesticated and the wild. We incur risk any time we place ourselves in the presence of that which exists beyond our control. ‘Without the confidence of faith,’ comments St. Isaac of Nineveh, ‘ no one will rashly let his [or her] soul go into the midst of terrible and difficult things.’ How crucial, then, that our efforts to sift and sort the forces shaping our spiritual life be undertaken with some bedrock assurances. King David provides one which cannot be surpassed. We are guided through narrow paths and led to spacious vistas because God delights in us. Deep in the layers of history, beneath the great upheavals of infidelity that reshape the landscape of our life with God, there abides a divine pleasure in the human creature. In the fullness of time this delight overflowed the bounds of worldly prudence and swept God into our very midst, one with us in suffering and hope. It is always in the gladsome company of this God that our discernment occurs.” ~From “Editor’s Introduction” by John S. Mogabgab in Weavings November/December 1995

Help me to live Lord, in those margins between the known and the unknown. Help me live in that place that exists beyond my control. Strengthen in me the confidence to live for You. Guide me through the narrow paths ahead and lead me in to Your spacious vistas. Amen.

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