(Continuation of Part 1)
Another example that comes to my mind is marriage. Who doesn’t know that marriage is not always sailing on the romantic moods of honeymoon! Feelings of tension and frictions between husband and wife aren’t uncommon in many homes. How effortless it is for the once bed of flowers to turn into bed of thorns! It doesn’t come as a surprise when the deeply-fallen-in-love couple reaching the stage of dryness and boredom. There are times, even often, when once passionate-for-each-other couple may fall into the land of wilderness, where the desire for intimate communication with his/her spouse can be lost. What could be done at such dry situation?
One most significant advice wise counselors offer to bring life into marriage is by improving communication. Spending time with each other prevents a relationship from departing from one another. It is by working on such relational areas that marital life can be revived. Lukewarm couples realize at that time—marriage is sustained by commitment and discipline, not by feelings and mere expectations. To do whatever one’s feeling say is but to invite destruction in relationship.
If couples are dependent on feelings to love each other, they may have to face two disastrous results:
First, when they don’t feel like loving each other, there are chances for them to get attracted towards another person, developing an affair, whether emotional or actual.
Second, the marital life may either become completely dead, pushing the coffin as long as one can, or it may lead to break-up in relationship.
Therefore, to avoid these plights, it is crucial for couples to resist being led by feelings and be committed, staying strong in will to build up their marital life. As they improve their communication and give themselves up for each other, denying their self-centered feelings, their first love can be restored. Beware, to wait for some good feelings or sensations to automatically arise to love is to make one's relationship even more fragile and is likely to crumble to pieces.
This is true even in our life with God. There are times we lose our passion for our Divine Bridegroom. Our love towards our Savior becomes lukewarm. We don’t feel like communicating with Him. Spending time with Him appears like wandering in mind. During that wilderness walk, it is much possible for our hearts to flirt easily with worldly things. The world and its pleasures become more fascinating than the Maker of all things. We may progressively drift away from God and permit other things to sit on the throne of our heart. (mind you, when we don’t do the right things, we don’t end up doing nothing; we do the wrong things.) And finally, God may become once-upon-a-time lover of our lives.
Just as it is important for a spouse to overcome his reluctant feelings and start saving his martial life, especially by working on communication and sparing time, it is also necessary for us to resist yielding to those fleeting feelings and work on improving our communication by spending time with our Heavenly Father. Although feelings are involved in love, the fact is— love is not all about feelings. Most importantly, it is commitment, regardless of our feelings, towards the best interest of our spouse. Therefore, if we are committed to love God, we don’t wait for our feelings to take us on an exciting emotional prayer trip. Whether our feelings agree or not, we pray to Him, earnestly seek His face and become desperate for Him. Such examples are replete in the book of Psalms.
Furthermore, let us know that God’s love towards us will neither increase nor decrease, for He loves us infinitely and is invariably passionate for our relationship. During dry times of our life, God looks upon us to see how desperate we are for Him. He takes delight in us when we long and thirst for Him, and wrestle for His relationship, the Source of living water. He doesn't drag us to Himself but rejoices when we drag ourselves nearer to Him. Theresa of Avila is reported to have asked God to make her pray four hour every day. “Ah,” replied God, “as I do not make the birds to eat, neither will I make you pray; the birds eat because they get hungry. When you are hungry for Me you, too, will pray, Theresa.”
C.S. Lewis said it so well, “When you feel like praising God and you praise Him, that’s wonderful. But if you don’t feel like praising Him and you praise Him anyway, that’s an exceptionally sweet fragrance in His nostrils.” To put it in the context of prayer, “When you feel like praying to God and you pray to Him, that’s wonderful. But if you don’t feel like praying to Him and you pray to Him anyway, that’s an exceptionally sweet fragrance in His nostrils.”
Are we offering such prayers that are exceptionally sweet fragrance to our Lord?
Our commitment to the Lord is well proven, not when we do things we like to do, but when we do things, regardless of our feelings, to please Him. It wasn’t in vain that our Lord said, “If anyone wishes to follow Me, he must deny himself…” The battle of self-denial is frequently faced and fiercely fought in our closet. God’s intimacy belongs to those who don’t give up!
TO BE CONTINUED.....
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