C. S. Lewis has disturbed me lately. So much so, that I find it is changing my thinking. In The Screwtape Letters, the demonic general celebrates how easy it is to “twist reality” for the humans. This simple technique has a dual effect. First, the attack distorts our feelings so that fears, arrogances, offenses, and injustices become larger than life, larger than what is even true. If we feel it, it must be true. Second, this same attack reduces any spiritual sensation, any appreciation of beauty, or glimpse of Heaven to “just a feeling” and thus should be dismissed and disqualified. Pretty brilliant, if I may say so. If it is worldly and full of fear, it must be true. If is spiritual and full of hope, it must be false.
I have mulled on this for a few days now. And watched it in others. When some of my friends discuss their angst, dilemmas or obstacles, there exists this faith-based steadfastness. I would be crazy to question or doubt their issues. They believe whole-heartedly in the toughness of the situation, the hopelessness of it, the impossibility of resolution. It is God-less. He has no power or bearing on the situation.
But when I question these same zealous pessimists about hearing God, or believing His goodness, then their steadfastness melts. Suddenly any godly thought, or verse, or feeling of the Spirit’s movement they may have experience is minimized, dismissed or overlooked.
Let me give you a real life example that God used to illustrate this demonic scheme.
It was Father’s Day and my girls and Chuck and I were driving out to see my dad. The windows were down, the sky was vivid blue, and one of my favorite worship songs was blasting. I looked around and marveled at the picture. All of us were singing praises to the Lord, our faces turned to the sky, the wind blowing in our hair. Tears sprung to my eyes. I said to the Lord, “Surely this is what Heaven must be like for you. When all your children are full of joy and we praise you with one voice.” My heart was bursting with thanksgiving and delight.
Fast forward about four hours, everyone was tired and hungry. And crabby. The girls started flying into each other. One by one, I heard bedroom doors close. Chuck retreated downstairs. Standing alone in my kitchen, my heart was bewildered by the tension and I felt like a failure as a mom and a coach.
Which do you think seemed more real? Which required more faith to hold on to?
Later that night, Holy Spirit set me straight through Mr. Lewis’s wisdom.
In layman’s terms, Lewis writes that we are purposely confused by the enemy about God’s definition of real. It is often easier for us to embrace hatred and heartache as real than it is for us to celebrate beauty, laughter, hope and love as real. The former seems pervasive, the latter only passing fancy. Or fantasy. Life is hard, no doubt, but God is bigger and better.
With greatest honor, the victory out of Charleston is that love won. We are witnesses that Heaven’s presence in this tragedy trumps the evil intended. We dare not minimize this or let it be overshadowed by grief or fear.
I want to challenge us to hold onto the truths of God. You are exercising your faith when you believe in the negative, the bad, the hopeless. But this kind of workout does not build your God life. It weakens it, which is the intent. When self pity rises up, you need to recognize that a satanic scheme is in play. Who you believe in this moment will determine what path you take. Victory or defeat. Hope or despair. Love or fear.
Likewise, when you experience whispers of beauty, enjoyment, truth, goodness, you are also exercising your faith. These lifelines from the Holy Spirit are meant to tether your spirit to Him, to Heaven, the greatest Reality. This workout builds your belief in God’s love, His provision, His transformation in your life and the world. Give yourself time and permission to look for glimpses of Heaven on earth.
I think this is why all the random appearances of hearts bless me so. Butterflies too. God and I have this ongoing game of holy hide and seek. When I look for Him, His presence, His goodness, I find it. Moments that make my heart sing are deposits of God’s heart intended to see me through the dark hours.
Be wise to the enemy tactics. Be willing to embrace the Spirit. There is a battle for your faith. Fight the good fight.
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