Monday, December 20, 2010

Bring Back the New Again

I've been reading C. S. Lewis' classic treatise on the foibles of the human nature and how the enemy of our souls capitalizes on those to our own detriment.  Of course I'm talking about The Screwtape Letters.  For those not familiar with this book, it's a series of "letters" written by a senior tempter named Screwtape to his novice tempter nephew, Wormwood.  I found myself thinking of this book tonight when I heard someone talking about how they felt that they weren't as close to God as they once felt, that even though they've grown spiritually it seems that the passion, the sizzle is gone.

And my first thought was of nasty old Screwtape.  You see, in one of his letters to Wormwood, in which he is telling him how to tempt a new believer he calls "the patient" - Screwtape talks about the "Law of Undulation."  

He says that humans are cyclical in everything they do, as they are spirits trapped inside corporeal bodies - and as the bodies have rhythms in eating, sleeping, even sexual desire, so the spirit follows suit and has rhythms in passion.  The fact that one "feels" or "doesn't feel" close to God MAY be an indication that one has drifted from Him; if that is the case, by the way, He will find a way to let us know.  Then again, it could be just the law of undulation ... and we needn't be ashamed or concerned about it.  How the enemy capitalizes on this ... is to get us to concentrate on the fact that the relationship might be in jeopardy, and focus on what's wrong with the relationship instead of on the relationship itself.  ANYTHING to get our minds and hearts off the Other Person in the relationship, for when our hearts are fixed on Him - this is our enemy's worst nightmare.

It is all well and good to discipline ourselves to seek God on a regular basis but if the reason for our seeking becomes routine, guilt-ridden, or fear-based, it's not going to work.  As one person pointed out to a friend tonight, God hasn't gone anywhere.  All it takes is the realization that He is already there, that He loves us more than we can comprehend, that He is waiting with open arms to lavish His presence and care upon us, to bring back that sense of newness and passion we once had.  

It's a relationship.  We talk to Him AND we listen to Him.  We spend time just enjoying each other's presence.  Just being.  Just resting.  Not demanding, not pulling on His sleeve.  Just resting our tired minds in His vast grace, opening ourselves to Him and drawing strength from His unfathomable passion for us.

Like any relationship it blossoms if we invest in it.  We appreciate the beauty of our time together, not rushing through it to "git-er-done" as is a popular saying.

Instead of a litany of "gimmes" or "bless'em's" we take the time to thank Him, to truly thank Him for wanting to spend time with us; we ask Him to give us His heart, His way of looking at things, His strength to face every step we take.  We acknowledge that without Him we can do absolutely nothing.  And we are so glad, so very glad, that we don't have to be without Him.  We are grateful that He takes the time to shout His love for us in the smallest of things - from a child's peaceful sleeping face to the glories of a blazing sunset to the delicacy of a flower to the love of real true friends.

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