May 15, 2022
I remember that in the early years of my conversion, a spiritual mentor reminded me that I should not make decisions in a state of confusion. At times, this is still my weakness because I thought hasty decisions and responses could bring instant relief to my troubles and burdens. Now I am much grateful that I found echoes to that reminder from my spiritual theology lecturer Sandy Lai during my subsequent studies. The lecturer advised that no decisions be made and no plans changed in times of spiritual decay (Desolation). Rather, we should stick to pre-Desolation resolutions and decisions and cherish those made immediately after the last divine condolence (Consolation). “Desolation” and “Consolation” means:
Consolation: This is spiritual condolence that moves us nearer to the Heavenly Father. One of the signs is that we will deeply experience the presence of God and the Lord’s love for us. The result is that our faith, hope, joy and courage will increase. We will be prepared to take risks to meet a challenge or generously and graciously give. We will be happy to wait and have patience, like a flower in full bloom. We will be able to care about the people and matters around us.
Desolation: This is spiritual decay that moves us away from the Heavenly Father. The result is that our faith, love and hope deteriorate. We may look organized on the outside but within, we are heavy-hearted, anxious, confused and uneasy. We judge others self-righteously, but we are really like a withering flower.
If you are in Desolation, do not worry. That is in fact an invitation for renewal from the Heavenly Father. The Father’s love will shine on us so that we see the discrepancy between our will and His. We will quickly draw near to Him to pray and pray, cherishing our hope. When that happens, Consolation will soon take place. Therefore, before we make any decisions, we need to first identify which state we are in, and by that help ourselves “test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
Earlier, I ran into something really difficult. The people and what happened at that time really got me going. But thank the Lord for helping me to realize (be aware) that I was in a state of emotional instability. In the light of the Lord, I saw (understand) that I was in the midst of Desolation. I knew it was no time to make decisions or responses. Later, I took reference to the book, Interpersonal Conflict & Spiritual Formation, by Hau-Chee Chan. I prayed and prayed: “Cleanse me with the precious blood of the Lord Jesus, cover me with the grace of the Heavenly Father and strengthen me by the power of the Holy Spirit.” After the prayer, the Lord revealed to me the sort of response that would be more appropriate to the people involved. My heart gradually calmed down. The Lord helped me enter Consolation and choose words that were more appropriate in responding to those concerned (Action).
May the Lord help us identify our state before we make any decisions. If in Consolation, we can make decisions boldly with total dependence on the Lord. If in Desolation, let us not make any decisions, but pray and pray until we are back to Consolation. Then we can make decisions, depending fully on the Lord.