Friday, June 08, 2007

How long does it take to be quenched?

(continued from last post)
How long does it take for God to satisfy our souls? How long does it take for God to satiate the longing hunger of our souls with good?

Hang with me on this one. It will take awhile to get back to the answer to that question. Sometimes the back door is the best way into a proper understanding of the text.

I think I stumbled upon a significant insight about this just the other day. I sat with a co-laborer and we counseled together on the best way to help a couple with a stuggling marriage. The issue of separation came up. My friend asked, "what do you think is the right length of time for a separation?"

The classic text often used to support the idea of separation is 1 Cor. 7 (esp. verse 5). Many Christians use this text to support the modern idea of separation. The reality is that for most people, talk of separation is a veiled way of stepping on to a fast train toward divorce. They are committed to divorce and simply don't want to admit it to anyone, especially their pastor. They have given up on seeking God's solution; they just want out and if using "separation" language will keep others from knowing the truth-- great.

So how was I to answer my friends question? Is this text appropriately applied to the concept of separation in a struggling marriage. Yes, I think it is but not separation as practiced in our modern setting.
Let's quote the text.
1 Corinthians 7:5 (ESV)
5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by
agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
Apparently, the context is that a couple is having difficulty at some level in their marriage and depriving one another of sexual intimacy has become a tool to punish one another. Paul says, that this situation is to be arrested by a season devoted to prayer and then they are to come together again lest they become tempted to satisfy sexual needs/desires in inappropriate ways.

Now my thought had always been that Paul probably didn't have more than the length of a woman's cycle in mind, (at an upper limit). And so I said that and then I looked at my pastoral friend and said, "You and I both know that if you really mean business with God, it doesn't take a month to get an answer from God."

(continue tomorrow)

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