Present Concerns

Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 29th, 1898 and went to be with the Lord on November 22nd, 1963. He was known as a British novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, broadcaster, lecturer, and, of course, a Christian apologist.

Now, he was no slouch because Lewis held academic positions at both Oxford University and Cambridge University. I admit that I know him best from his fictional work, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy. But I have also read his non-fiction Christian apologetics, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain. Lewis was also a close friend of my favorite author, J. R. R. Tolkien.

In a collection of his essays entitled, Present Concerns, Lewis wrote:

We must simply accept it that we are spirits, free and rational beings, at present inhabiting an irrational universe, and must draw the conclusion that we are not derived from it. We are strangers here. We come from somewhere else. Nature is not the only thing that exists. There is ‘another world’, and that is where we come from. And that explains why we do not feel at home here . . . If this world is the only world, how did we come to find its laws either so dreadful or so comic? If there is no straight line elsewhere, how did we discover that Nature’s line is crooked?

Well, it is the “Ruler” of this “somewhere else,” that I continually discuss in these messages. You see, for many, He is: the “Big ‘I’s'” Invisible, Inaudible, and Intangible. A friend of mine, who, after a few years of knowing each other, had grown from being an Atheist to being an Agnostic. He used to tell me, “I now understand that God does exist. I just don’t believe He is Knowable.” (Hey, my friend will grow. Give him time).

But that is my point. He is knowable! Yes, He is “all-powerful,” “all-knowing,” “all-present,” and “all good.” Even beyond what we can imagine. But that’s okay. He is also a person and is very approachable. In fact, as He described Himself, He is capable of loving us as a parent. Really? Yep! Through the Prophet Isaiah, He says that “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13)

Boy, you can’t beat that! He is as attentive to our needs and desires as we are to our own children! He even experiences the same emotions! In Exodus, He proclaimed, “I am Yahweh, the Lord God. I am merciful and very patient with my people. I show great love, and I can be trusted. And I keep my promises to my people forever . . .”

Ooh, we love to hear that, don’t we? We love to hear that He is merciful and compassionate; that He is patent with us; and that He is faithful! Ooh, yeah! But we don’t like to hear that He will also “punish anyone who sins.” (Exodus 34:6-7). That’s right, He is quite uncompromising when He needs to punish us. Ouch! But so are parents. Yeah, that is something we would prefer to ignore, but that is part of how we grow and mature in our relationship with Him.

Think about it. Just like any parent, He suffers pain and disappointment when His children go astray. But He immediately embraces them when they return! What I am saying is that the God we find within the Scriptures, who said His name was Yahweh, is certainly supremely guided by truth, reason, justice, and fairness. But we are very much like Him in many ways.

For instance, we suffer on behalf of our children; we become angry at them; we also, punish them. We are jealous of their love and their attention. At other times, we are gracious and compassionate. Like Yahweh, we love and want to be loved in return. According to the Scriptures, we can relate to Him: not merely as a “Creative Force” or a “Supreme Being,” but as a person we can enjoy a relationship. Like the best of parents, He pays attention to us individually. He never plays favorites (oh, except for me) but with each of us!

No, we can never use our God-given senses to know Him. We can never see Him; hear Him; smell or feel Him. We can never give Him a hug; hold His hands; have Him give us a piggyback ride around the backyard. We can’t carry His picture in our wallet. But, when He does speak to us, there won’t be any sound waves involved. Nope. We can’t read His lips or see any facial expressions or gestures like lovers often share. We won’t see Him wink at us or give us a nod. But His communications are undeniable and are real and authentic! His nearness can be as intimate as we desire. I encourage you to draw close to Him. To not merely say grace, but share the amazing grace of communing with Him. Yes, it is possible to believe in Yahweh without sensing His presence, but it does require us to lay aside all of the other desires and “stuff” of life.

Doulos Studies

(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)

I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.

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