Photo courtesy of Lisa DeLay
Through the screens of our televisions and computers and smart phones we are facing increasing violence around the world. Full of humanity, pain and sorrow for the hurting world, each interview we watch is more than a story. It’s heart wrenching to witness the tears of my brothers and sisters. How do we hold on to hope for peace in a time overflowing with so much unrest?
My heart circles around Scripture—Luke 8:22-25. It reminds me how fear can overturn with a blinding force. In a boat on a lake in a squall Jesus’ disciples panic, let fear steer them to see only the storm. Discerning a certainty of drowning, they choose to react rather than respond.
Jesus calms the storm: goes to the root of the experience; probes the hearts of his disciples to gain insight; asks open-ended questions and pauses for reflection; invites dialog to stimulate discernment of the source of turbulence. He calls for them to develop skills to deal with stressful experiences and strong emotions in a new way.
Jesus is a model for us: observing and pondering the environment before taking deliberate action. He demonstrates that complex situations call for a commitment to examine beyond the surface. We have the ability to learn from difficult experiences when our faith asks us to look again.
In discernment of religious life, in times of conflict and unease like facing reactions from family and friends, it’s instinctive to seek shelter, to immediately get away from the storm. But taking time to entertain curiosity—to examine your heart even if it feels immersed in a squall—can bring about the respectful response to the call you are sensing.
How do you respond to the storms in your discernment?
What questions is Jesus asking you in the midst of unrest in your life?