On Miracles + This Season

As I mentioned in my last post, I am currently reading Miracles by C.S. Lewis.  The book is more – I don't know how to describe it... perhaps critical or technical is the word?  Critical as in dealing with the subject of Miracles from the context of society and how unbelievable they are to people who view the world in a explicitly scientific way.  Therefore, there wasn't a lot that spoke to me in the first half of the book; Miracles is the sort of book you focus on with highlighter in hand and your apologist hat on (???), and honestly, I just don't think I was in the mood to read it.  I kept getting distracted.  I've heard from too many people I respect, however, who say that Miracles is their favorite of Lewis's books.  So I was determined to give it a fair chance.

All that said, before I get to the particular page that blew my mind, I'll give some context.  (long-winded journal entry ahead...)

It's 5 weeks since I left for Japan.  It's 3 weeks since I left Japan for home.  And it's hard.  It's hard not having that focus, that dialed-in, purposeful work.  I miss it and I want it back.  I don't want to stay, I want to go.

And I've wrestled with God on this.  I've wrestled with this season of life and with staying.  And outside on a heavy summer night, I laid it all out bare and open.  Because you know, when I told God I'd say yes this year, I really, deep down meant I would say yes there.  I really deep down meant I'd say yes to things I desperately wanted to do.  When I promised that I'd follow Him to the ends of the earth, I really deep down meant anywhere but here, anywhere but right where I am.  And when I begged God to use me, cried on the floor about the grief of the world and said I would do anything, go anywhere, I really meant, deep down inside, that I wanted to be used there, not here.  I wanted to be used where cities are bombed, where children lose their families to anger and violence, where there are too many babies for arms to hold, where the earth groans loudest for redemption and the saints must be bold.  I want to be used there, not here in this land of plenty, where we see the pain of the world and do nothing but talk.

And I hear the hypocrisy of my wild-sounding promises, of the banner I wave of bravery and trust.  I see the foolishness of promising God what I will and won't do.  I had put Him in my pocket, hung Him on a string around my neck, made Him small enough to fit Him into my dreams.  I know that's wrong, and I never thought I'd make the mistake of serving a God in my head I'd made small.

 But thankfully, God refuses to be made small, and so He used the words of a man to wake me up, just like He's done countless times before.  I was reading Lewis's book on miracles, and nothing was jumping out at me like I had expected.  And then I hit this page.  And I'm going to write it out here, because it's so beautiful and so desperately important.
"So here; the shock comes at the precise moment when the thrill of life is communicated to us along the clue we have been following.  It is always shocking to meet life where we thought we were alone. 'Look out!' we cry. 'It's alive.'  And therefore this is the very point at which so many draw back - I would have done so myself if I could - and proceed no further with Christianity.  An 'impersonal God' - well and good.  A subjective God of beauty, truth, and goodness, inside our own heads - better still.  A formless life-force surging through us, a vast power which we can tap - best of all.  But God Himself, alive, pulling at the other end of the cord, perhaps approaching at an infinite speed, the hunter, king, husband - that is quite another matter.  There comes a moment when the children who have been playing at burglars hush suddenly: was that a real footstep in the hall?  There comes a moment when people who have been dabbling in religion ('Man's search for God!') suddenly draw back.  Supposing we really found Him?  We never meant it to come to that!  Worse still, supposing He had found us?  So it is a sort of Rubicon.  One goes across; or not.  But if one does, there is no manner of security against miracles.  One may be in for anything." - C.S. Lewis, Miracles
Right here at home, in this season I'd rather not be in, I suppose I'm going to have to trust Him more.  I don't want to waste this time; I want Him to use it.  I'm going to let Him have His way, be the alive, powerful God that He is, and step back.  I'm going to get Him out of my pocket, untie Him from around my neck and worship and serve and follow the God who refuses to be made small.  I'm going to follow Him right here.  I'm going to let Him be my big God who will have His way with me, even here.  I'm going to stop trying to fit Him into my dreams and start fitting my dreams into His.

There it is; that's it.  If I've chosen to believe in this God who performs miracles and who keeps this earth spinning on its axis and the planets suspended in space, I can't limit His plans for me to what I feel in my heart or think in my head.  I gotta be up for anything because I could be in for anything.

I'm not finished with this book yet, and I'm sure I'll have more to say about it before it's over, but that's what has hit me the hardest so far.

Lewis does have some incredible ways of explaining miracles, how God performing miracles isn't contrary to nature - take this quote: "Thus, as we accept this doctrine of the higher world we make new discoveries about the lower world.  It is from that hill that we first really understand the landscape of this valley.  Here at last, we find...a real illumination: Nature is being lit up by a light from beyond Nature.  Someone is speaking who knows more about her than can be known from inside her."  I mean.  Let that sink in.

That's our God.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I recently read The Omnivore's Dilemma (I know, right?) and this thought jumped out at me: "It is a mistake to assume what we know is what we need to know. The things we haven't discovered yet may be the very key we need to unlock some door we didn't even know existed." Of course the author was not speaking of faith, but it really struck me in a summer when I was thinking a lot about miracles. People reject the miraculous because it goes against what they know. Perhaps they just know too little.

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