As we wrap up our nurturing theme this week, I reflected upon the contrast between the spiritual positions of “consolation” and “desolation.” I was struck anew how key it is to allow God to nurture us in order for us to nurture others.
Consolation draws us towards God’s presence in our lives. While desolation pulls us away. One is life-giving. The other is loss. Life or loss. Somewhat like a choice between thriving or wilting. Deuteronomy 30:19 speaks of the choice between life and death, blessings and curses.
Consolation allows me to be me my most authentic self with God. In good or bad, I am aware of his love and grace at work in me and through me. Desolation leaves me feeling out of touch with God. I am off-kilter. Not free to be myself, with God or others.
The word “consolation” can sound negative. As in, “consolation prize.” But the root is “console,” as in: solace, comfort, delight, pleasure, consoling. We could say these are parts of nurturing.
To nurture is to cause growth. To be life-giving is the epitome of nurturing. And to do so lovingly, we must do so freely, without a sense of burden. The Bible is clear that with God there is more to life and freedom (John 10:10, 2 Corinthians 3:17). Scripture also says we get comfort from God, which in turn, we pour out to others.
Each day is a choice. Consolation or desolation. Draw near to God, be poured into, and pour into others.
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NLT)