Listenings: Sign of Our Deliverance

Gratitude is the sign that our resentments no longer rule us.  Gratitude is not just an occasional “thanks be to God” (p. 63), it is a disposition of the heart that celebrates our liberation from death-dealing elements in our lives.  In gratitude we recognize that all is grace, so we can receive even our sufferings as sources of learning and formation.  And from that place, we can help others find deliverance that uses their sufferings to take them to a better place.
     These thoughts of Nouwen’s are very similar to those of Richard Rohr in his book, ‘Falling Upward.’  Rohr maintains that “necessary suffering” is the means for maturing in the spiritual life.  It is the way our egos learn they are not in control.  It is the process of learning that God is with us even when things ate not good and life is not fair. 
Whether from Nouwen or from Rohr, we are at the point in our spiritual formation referred to in classical formation as “the dark night of the senses.”  Stripped of every comfort, of every good thing, we find “God alone” to be our sufficiency and strength.  We find “God alone” to be our light and life. 
     Resentment indicates we are still trying to fill the emptiness with something we think we deserve.  Gratitude is the sign that God has filled the hole; indeed, that God has become the Whole in Whom we live, move, and have our being.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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1 Response to Listenings: Sign of Our Deliverance

  1. Marcie Milelr says:

    Thank you so much; this is so what I needed to hear tonight!!!! How perfectly communicated.
    I shall prayerfully take this to heart and work on my gratitude attitude. I just started a 30 day experiment in gratitude and this will set my bar.

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