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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Symphony of God’s Bliss Known in Loss


THERE’S no veritable limit to what God has for us in the field of experience. But our humanity cannot readily see what God has for us, and our humanity doesn’t want to believe. To believe is to go against the flow of our inner reality, to choose something that seems external, but could never be anything other than visceral.
What I discuss here is possible, but only through faith; only through taking a step outside ourselves in order to see what is ever deeply part of us: God — and his works in us from time immemorial.
Let me determine a logic for the term, “God’s bliss.”
It’s something that couldn’t be further from our human default experience of thinking, where we know how far from home we are. Whenever we feel truly human we can feel that we’re estranged from home — that God-shaped whole in our hearts. Yet, many people don’t recognise it and their response to the unsavoury parts of life is anger or envy or prideful, etc. God’s bliss is recognising we’re far from home, yet it’s entreating the Spirit to be with us in the moment, and it’s that actual experience: to enjoy a Presence in and about ourselves that’s remarkably reassuring simply because we know God is there.
God’s bliss is experienced independent of our reality. It’s the same experience whether joy appends naturally or whether sorrow binds itself to us in our fissures. It’s no normal bliss. It’s entirely supernatural, through faith. It’s partly a meditative state. It’s therefore primary to prayer. But it’s possible to carry God’s bliss.
Because it’s pervasive — the ending of all our power; the beginning of God’s power — God’s bliss is a symphony. It superintends our spiritual state and is felt mentally and emotionally. It covers the darkness with an effusion of light.
***
Loss is incredibly hard. Shock is normal, denial is natural, and anger and bargaining are to be expected. Depression is almost a fait accompli. We have to experience loss as human beings, at a human level.
But where faith can make God real in the raw moments of experience is through entreating God’s bliss. We know Jesus experienced great pain, personally. We can know that God feels what we feel. And we can know that only God can help us stay the excruciating moment. (To ‘stay the moment’ I mean to bear it courageously — the painful reality of the experience, by the second.)
God gives us power, and the experience of his Presence with us, to be real in pain.
Being real in the pain of loss is possible because God’s Presence makes it possible.
The burdens of life are hard and heavy. God’s burden is hope-giving and healing.
God’s bliss is a portent of life from another place and time; a reminder of home.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.

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