We all struggle every day with what to do and who to be. Our choices range from which scarf to buy– for your girlfriend who let you travel to Spain– to the change-the-course-of-your life decisions. How long and when we listen to the voice of God is a skill we must all learn to master. I know of a lady who often stands in front of her open closet and lets God decide what she will wear for the day. That may seem extreme, but in this fragmented and global age where a multi-trillion dollar advertising industry depends on influencing our identity, we must learn to trust in more than our frail cleverness. We cannot see all ends.
van Kaam calls the second stage in spiritual reflection, “Apprehension”. What he means is that after awe opens our spirits like like a flower to the morning sun, we are then in the best position to apprehend God’s nudging. Apprehension is like a bridge step that brings us from passive awe to an active weighing and balancing, the utilization of our God-given logic.
“Apprehension”, the second stage, therefore does not signify a timid posture; in the midst of life’s challenges we are not apprehensive. Rather, here we can learn use a sixth sense. Equipped with our intuition, we move carefully but quickly into acknowledgment, argumentation, and assessment (step three).
Many who did not abide in awe filled attention or whose pride secretly rules their heart falter here. Politicians, for example, who may apprehend a logical move, may mis-assess the situation as they rationalize their way around the right response. It is important that we acknowledge our internal resistances and weigh pros and cons. But, apprehension must come first. And, our cost analysis must always give way and be paved by brave assurance that the immense love of God will lead us toward good ends, even if it sometimes seems in the short run that our divine calling would undo our most important investments…