Which is More Real? God’s Presence or My Feelings

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.


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Does Jesus Matter in Life?

Does it really make any difference if we are Christians when we are facing real life circumstances?

I wonder if the average Christian truly has any expectation that the presence of God will actually impact the situations he or she is living through. And I also wonder, do we lack expectation because we lack faith?

Right now in my circle of life, there are all kinds of car issues. Our old van is more and more refusing to go into reverse. Laura’s transmission gave up the ghost all together. Shimmi just got hit with huge auto repair bills. On top of these needs I have loved ones facing foreclosure, facing medical debt collectors, and using roofing loans to pay for groceries.

Does an eternal Jesus matter in these concrete issues?

My mind goes to the Narnia stories by C.S. Lewis. Lucy was the first of four children to experience the all together Other Reality of Narnia that was far more real than their everyday England. And over and over people would doubt, malign or question the reality of Aslan, the great Lion who was the True King of Narnia. And over and over, Lucy looked for Aslan. She asked for Aslan. She hoped for Aslan.

And over and over, Aslan showed up in the most surprising ways. Unpredictable yet unchanging. I am learning to believe that if you never have need of a god, you are doomed indeed. It is in those “God I am hopeless unless You show up on my account” moments that we see we need a God, and we are not God. I think this is a good thing. And God is happy to be God for us. I think this is the best thing.

In one Nania scene when all seems lost, Aslan remarkably shows up, to which Lucy remarks, “You came!”

“Of course I came. Did you question that I would, child?” Aslan asks.

Lord give us Lucy hearts. Teach us to look for You in the hardest of moments with hearts of faith. And teach us to wait expectantly for Your appearing in our hard places.

“You surround them with your favor as with a shield.” Psalm 5:12