Man is becoming as narrowly “practical” as the irrational animals. In lecturing to popular audiences I have repeatedly found it almost impossible to make them understand that I recommend Christianity because I thought its affirmations objectively true. They are simply not interested in the question of truth or falsehood. They only want to know if it will be comforting, or “inspiring,” or socially useful.
I can’t quite explain it, but my heart feels like it’s going to explode.
I’m so overwhelmed right now with the strength of my emotions, both good and bad. The last few days have been roller coasters for me.
My grandparents are in town, and being with them has really brightened the last couple of days. I love my dad’s folks. Especially his mom. When I left my house today to go to work, I was feeling this overflowing love for them, for God, and for people in general. And as I listened to the radio, that grew stronger and stronger until it suddenly flipped from joy to sorrow. And dangerous as it is, I started to just cry as I drove. (I wish I could say I was crying because there are so many beautiful, amazing people who don’t know Christ. And that does really get to me at times, but today it was a selfish sadness.)
Because it made me so, so sad. Because there are people in my life that I just love. Deeply. And it’s killing me. It hurts. So much. People that live far away that I don’t get to see. Love is the most painful thing I’ve ever encountered in my life. Every person I’ve ever truly loved has been unbearably human. And my that I mean, imperfect. And by that I mean normal.
Translation: They’ve all hurt me. And that’s okay. I forgive them. I still love them.
But my heart feels so tired. Sometimes I feel like I’ve spent so much of my life being strong in the face of attacks on my heart that I just don’t want to be strong anymore. I just want to collapse. And give up. To be held close in someones strong arms and told that I don’t have to pretend everything’s okay. Just hold me and let me cry until there are no tears left to be shed. I don’t cry in front of people generally, except my parents. But I want to. I want someone to just take me in that broken state and just love me.
Am I “depressed”? No. Not at all. I’m just worn. I feel tattered and raw.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
~2 Corinthians 12:9
I find these verses both encouraging and also frightening. Because they’re a promise that I will have heartache and pain in my life; but, I will not have to face it alone. It doesn’t make it any less painful, it just makes survival possible. Christ is the one who saw my brokenness and loved me enough to die for me anyway. And I am so grateful for that. (FYI, “greatful” is apparently not a word, I just looked it up. It’s grateful.)
Sometimes I wish I could turn off my heart. Stop loving. Stop caring. Stop aching. But God made me with a soft heart. Easily bruised, but extremely strong. The people who love me do so because of my heart. So, though I often wish I could just remove it, I’m glad I am the way I am.
It’s difficult to keep a soft heart when you get hurt. The tendency is to withdraw. Press on. Soft hearts get easily bruised, yet survive, while hard hearts crack and crack completely.
Until next time.
On the one hand Death is the triumph of Satan, the punishment of the Fall, and the last enemy. Christ shed tears at the grave of Lazarus and sweated blood in Gethsemane: the Life of Lives that was in Him detested this penal obscenity not less than we do, but more. On the other hand, only he who loses his life will save it. We are baptized into the death of Christ, and it is the remedy for the Fall. Death is, in fact, what some modern people call “ambivalent.” It is Satan’s great weapon and also God’s great weapon: it is holy and unholy; our supreme disgrace and our only hope; the thing Christ came to conquer and the means by which He conquered.
For reflection on Isaiah 25:6-9
Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.
It is right and inevitable that we should be much concerned about the salvation of those we love. But we must be careful not to expect or demand that their salvation should conform to some ready-made pattern of our own. Some Protestant sects have gone very wrong about this. They have a whole program of conversion etc., marked out, the same for everyone, & will not believe that anyone can be saved who doesn’t go through it “just so.” But… God has His own way with each soul. There is no evidence that St. John underwent the same kind of “conversion” as St. Paul. And I’m sure a man can get to Heaven without being accurate about Methuselah’s age. Also, as MacDonald says “the time for saying comes seldom, the time for being is always here.” What we practice, not (save at rare intervals) what we preach, is usually out great contribution to the conversion of others.
~C.S. Lewis, March 2, 1955
For reflection on John 13:34-35
I am aware that “through” is not spelled like that. I am tired, okay?
I know all about the despair of overcoming chronic temptations. It is not serious provided self-offended petulance, annoyance at breaking records, impatience, etc doesn’t get the upper hand. No amount of fails will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, & the clean clothes are in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one’s temper and give up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present to us: it is the very sign of His presence.
~C.S. Lewis –for reflection on Psalm 40:1-3
A Fall evening. Silent, except for the soft murmur of wind breathing across the dry, dead leaves. Elyon’s breath.
Can you imagine it? God’s breath on a cool evening, weaving through the trees, just waiting to be taken in.
You step outside and test the air. Cool, fresh. You take a deep pull. Mmm. It cleanses your lungs.
That pleasant smile that plays across your lips?
He was waiting for that. Like a lovesick groom, giving his bride a gift just to see her smile, he made that breeze pleasing just to see you enjoy it.
Ever danced in the rain? He was right there, dancing with you. That shiver of raw pleasure when the tiny drops land on your bare skin? That was Elyon’s touch.
Maybe you didn’t see it as that, but that’s what it was.
He loves to see you smile, to hear you laugh. That “warm fuzzy” feeling when you see something truly sweet and kind and tender? Elyon made that feeling possible.
That longing for closeness and love?
Just a small taste of the longing in His heart for you.
He’s been waiting for you since the beginning of time.
He was thrilled the day He made you real.
Now, He waits, like a Lover waits for his bride at the alter. He waits for you to choose Him. He chose you long ago, when He died for you. Now He waits for you to accept His offer of love.
Will you choose Him?
He’s waiting patiently now, but He won’t wait forever.