Saturday, March 8, 2008

The world is not my home

Over the last few years I've increasingly felt that as a follower of Christ, the world really is not my home. There's just so much ugliness to deal with when we choose, in ways big or small, to live apart from God. I love my little family and my life, but sometimes the darkness of the world is overwhelming and I wish I were done with the mess down here already. I wish I could shazam! myself away from sin and suffering, but I know the only complete way to do that is to die and spend eternity in heaven.

I read in CS Lewis' The Problem of Pain, "Christ takes it for granted that men are bad. Until we really feel this assumption of His to be true, though we are part of the world He came to save, we are not part of the audience to whom His words are addressed." At this point, God will have no trouble convincing me that humanity is inherently sinful. I do read the newspaper, I do live in the world, I do sin more than I wish. Oh sure, I can play my little game of impressing myself with how short my current list of sins is, but it never lasts--I always go out and do something really stupid and wrong, or I don't do anything when I should do something holy and good. And my oh-so charitable attitude to the perpetrators of the world's ills is often to want to slap people upside the head with the Bible and yell something like "you blind idiot! Can't you see the havoc your sin is causing?!"

The problem for me is finding peace in this life in the midst of so much darkness. But I've realized that there is good in recognizing 'that men are bad': the good is that it distills ones love for God. The despair of sin is only found apart from God, and joy in life is only found in God. When we find God, we find joy, and when we experience joy in God, we want more of it. Our lives ideally become trained around the pursuit of God. We are awakened to what he and only he offers, and nothing else can satisfy. CS Lewis also famously writes, "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."


Ryan said...

Reminds me of Psalm 137...

1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.

2 There on the poplars
we hung our harps,

3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"

4 How can we sing the songs of the Lord
while in a foreign land?

truthfinder said...

Hi! I've been following your blog for a couple of months, and praying for you. Hope you're feeling better. I am really finding out what Lent is all about. It is , to a great extent, realizing over and over that, " I have sinned through my own fault,... in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do...." . Mea culpa --- BIGTIME! The Holy Spirit has been showing me at every turn how pathetic are my efforts at trying to justify my sinful behaviors and attitudes. Thank God for the Sacrament of Reconciliation!! By the way, I tried the "slap people up the side of the head with the Bible" thing before I was Catholic, and it never works. A soft answer really does turn away anger, and it gives people food for thought when the words we speak are words of life given to us by the Holy Spirit. Thank you for persevering in your blogging. I'll keep praying for you and your family.

Angie said...

I've really been enjoying your blog! You do a tremendous job of keeping the reader interested!
I have you saved under my fav's so you can count on me being back!
God bless and have a blessed Lent (only 2 weeks until Easter Sunday!).

Angie said...

Sorry ... I forgot to share something someone once mentioned ... "how do you live IN the world without becoming PART of the world?" I think you did a good job of explaining that here.

jogger mom said...

Ryan- a beautiful psalm to remember, thanks

truthfinder- thank you for your prayers! I wish you a rich and fruitful Lent, it really is a fabulous time that shapes us more into God's likeness, isn't it?

Angie- thanks for keeping up with me, and yes, a great question to ask...and one for which we probably will always have to keep coming up with new answers, since I don't think any of us ever reaches spiritual perfection in this life.