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September 19, 2010

Discernment


It appears quite easy but it is that moment in your life when you have to make a difficult decision. Reflecting and re-thinking about options until you arrive at the best choice only to re-think again and re-consider the other options, weighing the idea that there might be better choices. It is a moment in one's life when everything stops but everyone else continues to move. It is the bus stop in one's journey, the ticket counter in the train station. The destinations are up on the board and you have less than 2 minutes to choose which train to take. Naturally, the choice will affect the outcomes in the future.

So how does one discern? For most people, they resort to spiritual retreat. The answer perhaps lies behind the veiled mystery of God's will, an entity that is in itself very hard to decipher. Many moments in our lives have been attributed to God's will. Except for faith, there is none that can affirm such truth. What is God's will? Many prophets and seers and founders of religions have attempted to understand, much less reveal what they have understood about, the will of God. In a sense it is impossible to know God's will. The understanding of this action requires the comprehension of the "actor" - God Himself. And who can dare claim that he knows fully well God? Only God can understand God.

So perhaps there is such a thing as God's will but I am not sure whether we will reach the point of understanding it or not in our earthly life time. Or perhaps through intense discernment, we can attempt to see and understand, even in a blur, what we think God intends us to do.

I am not sure myself whether I do understand what God's will for me is. Certainly I am not even in authority to declare what God wills for me at this point in my life. Looking back, there can be moments in my life when I felt that somehow there was Divine Intervention. But this realization comes only in hindsight. It always comes in hindsight. We always look at our past with 20/20 vision.

But searching God's will at the present moment can be harder than having to realize it soon after. The Old Testament days are over. There are no more burning bushes or thundering mountains or pillars of fire or glistening ladders rising up to the heavens. There are no more Voices from Heavens or apparitions of angels who would surprise us with an "Ave!" greeting.

So we make ourselves content with seeking advice from friends and family, from strangers and acquaintances, and with our informed conscience we de-code God's will, transmitted through the flaws of men's opinions.

Discernment is tough. Surviving this phase is rigorous enough. Perhaps if there is one thing to pray for besides the enlightenment that one eventually receives after discernment, it is a prayer for a shorter length of discernment, so that the energy that might be drained through a lengthy period of internal struggle between the heart and mind, will be conserved, enough to fuel the next phase of life: the stubborn will to implement the choice.

For now, I may not know God's will and perhaps He may never reveal His will until I am dead. But I am thankful for the gift of companions whose presence strengthen my spirit, keeping me company in the bench at the bus stop, until I take the right bus and start on my journey.



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