How Does God Console?
The Lord (Week 21 of 23)
How does God console? Not by saying: Your trials are not really so terrible; they are terrible, and he sees them as terrible. Nor does God promise miraculous intervention. History has its time and its power, also history directed against God, and he does not cancel them. But over and above earthly reality, he gives us a glimpse of heavenly reality. Over and above the storm and press of historical power, appears the One against whom it is directed, the silent, waiting Christ. Eternity is his.
The Lord, Part 7: Chapter 1, Paragraph 3
It’s all too easy to downplay my sufferings, to even consider them “sufferings” and not take them seriously at all.
I mean, after all, I haven’t really suffered anything major. My kids are healthy, my husband is doing well, we’re gainfully employed, our house isn’t so bad. We have the material possessions we need, enough food to eat, some candy as a treat, and plenty others.
We’re not at war within our family unit, either in our immediate family nor in our extended families.
To put it mildly, I live a pretty charmed existence.
It doesn’t take me long to find someone who’s way ahead of me on the suffering front. There’s that friend who has chronic physical pain, that family member with anxiety, and the person who has buried three of five immediate family members.
How about the lonely elderly relative, slowly drifting into forgetfulness? Or the person on the prayer request chain who is having custody issues and struggling with addition?
What do I know about suffering?
Guardini reminds us that God’s not playing “suffering as a comparison game.”
He also unpacks the Book of Revelation in a way that I never before considered it: as a consolation.
The consolation, we read, is “the comfort of faith there for all hearers who have ‘overcome’ in faith.”
I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to reread this section at least a few more times. I’m still puzzling through it…and I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Part 7: Ch. III-VII
1. When are you tempted to play the one-up suffering game? How might you turn it around and use what Guardini has brought up in today’s reading?
2. What’s the biggest challenge you face when you read the Book of Revelation? What’s helping you in how Guardini is presenting it so far?
Feel free to comment on anything from our assignment this past week!
For More Information on the Book Club: https://spiritualdirection.com/csd-book-club