Tag Archives: C. S. Lewis

The Great Reversal

5 Oct

??????????????

My human intellect anticipates God will zig, and he zags.

This is especially true in the Gospels where we have the opportunity to see God operate in human form. Time and again he acts 180 degrees from the cultural expectation. (Take the challenge – read the Gospel of Mark and keep a list of circumstances in which Jesus defies human logic and understanding.)

One of my favorite verses in all of Scripture is Revelation 21:5 – He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”

The entire chapter is the triumph we all long for. When I read it, I can’t help but read faster and louder. With growing excitement, I keep reading the next chapter that ends with: “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen! Come Lord Jesus!

I long for him to come! But while I wait, I enjoy seeing the Great Reversal already in progress.

Sin and disease still have a hold on this world, but the death grip is weakening. You see it when a scientist, years away from retirement, negotiates the ravages of leukemia on his body with peace. And when a couple adopts a drug-addicted infant. And as a family moves out of a gorgeous home because dad lost his job, without bitterness, but excitement to see how God works in their lives.

There are still plenty examples of darkness, pain, and hate in this world. But, as CS Lewis described in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, winter is giving way to spring. And this from Solomon: “See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come.

The Great Reversal has begun!

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READY FOR SUNDAY

What if we had a controller for the universe that could rewind the situation and make it right? A young mom killed in a car accident would live; a person of color enduring racial injustice (again) would be spared; the hundreds or thousands killed by the latest natural disaster could be warned. What if we had that kind of power? Would we use it?

While we often don’t have power over life and death, we do have power over the forces of darkness. In every situation we DO have a reversal controller. We can bring light into darkness, hope into despair, mercy into injustice, and love into hate. The Great Reversal happened in my life when I understood that Christ died for me, removed my sins, and transferred me from darkness to the Kingdom of Light. That fact alone makes me want to worship him!

And now I am a Deputy in the Great Reversal taking place all around me. And this is my worship.

The Flowers Fade

11 May

roses

Today I threw away a dozen roses.

Beautiful long-stemmed blossoms over two weeks old, now withered, with crispy-edged petals.

Fresh flowers come with sadness. Their sweet faces mask a longing that their beauty would not fade.

And yet, their fate is precisely what makes them so precious. They exist now. Their deep hues spew happiness– especially because they will not last.

Indigenous to our hearts this longing  yearns for flowers to last forever, for death to die. For hurts to be kissed away and for goodness to always prevail.

The wise C. S. Lewis captured this well in words: “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”

He, and I, believe the world for which we yearn is heaven.

Wrapped in the anguish of fading rose petals sit droplets of worship – that deep and unquenchable longing for what will last, for the One who will never fade or disappoint, for the One who fashioned our hearts for relationship.

More than we long for Him, incredibly, He longs for us.

Deep  calls to deep from beyond time into our eternity.

Come  to me.”

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Ready for Sunday

If I only knew how much He desires to meet with me I would spend my life in His arms, always worshiping. Draw me nearer, O my God.

 

Northernness

18 Aug

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
   so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
   for (D)the living God.   Psalm 42:1-2

Starting in my chest, an undefinable longing slowly rose until it grew so acute I could taste the yearning.

Last night I was editing photos from a trip to my hometown on Lake Superior, and my soul was there – not just imagining, but really standing on the beach.  The crisp lake air pushed ripples toward the the shore, over the smooth pebbles and down into my heart.

C. S. Lewis called it Northernness.

He had several experiences as a child he couldn’t describe his heart was so overwhelmed.  “Later in life he would call this sensation Joy, which he defined as ‘an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction.'”

As and adult, waves of Northernness crashed over him as he read ancient Norse legends (hence the directional nature of the term).  “I was uplifted into huge regions of northern sky, I desired with almost sickening intensity something never to be described (except that it is cold, spacious, severe, pale, and remote)…. Pure Northernness engulfed me [with] a vision of huge, clear spaces hanging above the Atlantic in the endless twilight of northern summer.”

David called it thirsting.

He so yearned for more of God that he used a most desperate metaphor from his desert culture – a panting deer.  A deer pants for one of two reasons: either it is overheated (deer hide out in the forests during the day to avoid the heat) or the deer has been running (again, not a common occurrence, because deer are smarter than to unnecessarily run in the heat of the day).  The implication is the deer is stressed and super-desperate for water.  The sun is either blazing down excruciatingly, or the deer was forced to run – most likely from a predator – and must have water now instead of waiting for dusk.  In both life-threateningly grave situations the deer cannot not seek out water.

God uses his creation to speak to me.  Ankle deep in icy water, I hear His voice through the splashing waves, and my heart aches, flying free and twisting into knots at the same time; undefinable, but definitely not elusive.  Thirsty Northernness pushes me into His arms–  the only place my soul is satisfied.

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Ready for Sunday

While I can cultivate a desperateness for God in my relationship with Him that comes close to the overwhelming moments described above, I don’t think I can “make them happen”.  I’m sure these are “deep calling to deep” – His Spirit inside me calling to Him.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t pursue Him!

Nowhere in Psalm 42 does David pine for the royal courts or the accoutrements of being King of Israel.  What he longed for was his God, and specifically, to lead others in worship.

My prayer is that I would be so desperate for Him, the living water, nothing else will satisfy my craving.

Lewis quotes taken from C. S. Lewis, An Examined Life, by Bruce Edwards, pp. 254-55.  Edwards is quoting from Surprised by Joy, The Shape of My Early Life, by C. S. Lewis.

While David is not listed as the author of Psalm 42, the commentaries I read to find the author’s name believe David wrote this psalm while he was hiding from his son Absalom who was trying to usurp the throne.

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