Updated: Jul 19
Over the last three months, I’ve endured neck surgery and a house remodel. These situations resulted in much anxiety but also an increased focus on God for “the peace of God,” keeping my “heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” It exposed many of my weaknesses which is a blessing in disguise. I suspect you might have had similar experiences from some of your life’s tests and trials.
How does a Christian Contemplative deal with these types of “Tests”? I respond by meditating on my weaknesses and praying often.
Does God answer my prayers or give me insight with my meditations? Yes and No. “Ask, and You’ll Receive,” I believe, is very misunderstood. I believe God answers your prayers by giving you what He knows is best for you. Frequently, I don’t get the answer I was looking for, but I have faith that God heard my prayer and is actively helping me according to His Will.
So how do you then proceed, like in my case, the neck surgery resulted in a slow and unpleasant tapering from the pain medications and only partial success from the surgery. And my ongoing anger toward the Contractor of our remodel, who mismeasured several times, which resulted in long delays? I proceed with much more reliance on God for his help and love.
My issues expose my sins: anger, impatience, and lack of kindness, and I know only Jesus can wash my sins away with his blood. Ok, that is a significant high-level blessing, but what do I do day by day?
1. I tend to read my Bible or do my Bible Study. That is my go-to when things get tough. Then my contemplation and mediations take on a new life because I feel like I’m growing spiritually and “growing my relationship with Jesus.”
2. I watch “The Chosen” videos or live streams during the season. “The Chosen” portrays Jesus and his disciples better than any other series or movie I have seen. Additionally, I do my “Chosen” bible study with my wife. This gives me much insight into how the disciples handled their day-to-day issues.
3. I read books like “The Mystical Qabalah” by Dion Fortune. She teaches how the Tree of Life is about balance and equilibrium. For instance, regarding my issue with the contractor, I ask myself if I’m being too Merciful (Chesed) or too Severe (Geburah). I was a Marine and a Master in Kenpo. Sometimes I become aggressive instead of being appropriately assertive.
4. I bounce things off my wife. Again, another reflection on the Tree of Life is on the Archetypal Male and Female. I need to understand the female perspective. My wife almost always gives me much-needed insight into my issues.
But I’m not going to kid myself into thinking that my issues will be taken away – but I do believe they might be more manageable and have less power over me.