Friday, December 01, 2006


I'm a firm believer in being absolutely honest when it comes to spiritual matters - although I may fall short on my own principle many times. So it embarrasses me to admit it, but sometimes I feel very, very scared about the future. Not just my future on this world, but I start thinking, what if I'm wrong about what happens after death? What if? What if?

Somewhere in Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis talks about this, and what he said helped me a lot. I've just been looking for the quote but can't find it, so I will paraphrase it as best I can: Everyone has moments of panic or disbelief, or a feeling of abandonment. This does not change the fact that you have made a choice and a decision to follow Christ. The moments of disbelief are a matter of moods; but the choice is a choice with a foundation.

In fact, Lewis also writes, in The Screwtape Letters:
Merely to override a human will (as His felt presence in any but the most faint and mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo. ... He is prepared to do a little overriding at the beginning. He will set them off with communications of His presence which, though faint, seem great to them, with emotional sweetness, and easy conquest over temptation. But He never allows this state of affairs to last long. Sooner or later He withdraws, if not in fact, at least from their conscious experience, all those supports and incentives. He leaves the creature to stand up on its own legs - to carry out from the will alone duties which have lost all relish. It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it is growing into the sort of creature He wants it to be. Hence the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best. ... He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there, He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks around upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.

I find these particular quotes very empowering. They are part of the reason I don't want to tell lies about my spiritual state. Sometimes it can feel, when you are with other Christians, that everyone else is a spiritual giant, in hourly communion with God, while you are a weak miserable little imposter who needs to pretend to be like them. If, however, we are more honest about our feelings, perhaps we will intimidate less people, and be able to personally face up to our feelings, and as Lewis says, still obey.

Besides, the fact that someone like C. S. Lewis, one of the most famous Christians of the twentieth century, felt like this at numerous times makes me feel a lot more relaxed about my own spiritual state.

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