Tag Archive for 'C.S. Lewis'

Jesus… Where are you?

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I’m sitting on the floor of a hotel room, looking out my window. As cars cross the bridge, red lights turn green, and the silhouette of a woman dances on the building in front of me, I feel small. Jesus… Where are you?

I have been blessed with so many opportunities to travel over the last two years. It’s truly a blessing and a true work in my soul considering 1) the first time I stepped on an airplane was in high school and 2) growing up I dreaded leaving the comfort of my home.  I’ve now flown up north, down south, and overseas (each multiple times) in the last two years. Instead of dreading leaving my home, each new trip has become a mission. Every trip I will encounter people that I will never see again. Why not be bold toward starting conversations with strangers?

So, here I am… sitting on a floor and overwhelmed by a city. The things I have seen in  the last day and a half have made life at home seem fake. I know that may be an odd statement, so let me explain. Every city and culture I have been to has a different degree of acceptable sin. Not that one is more sinful than the other (it could be argued that some may be), but each city has a level of sin that is acceptable in the public arena. For example, Miami has this woman dancing on a building. This is perfectly acceptable here. The level of sin (to make sure I’m clear, I’m not referring to the severity of the sin itself, but it’s acceptance in the public arena) is so much higher than the woman dancing on the building that she is just an afterthought as everyone goes about their lives. At home, no one would dare (or even be allowed to) have a dancing woman on their building. So is Miami more sinful than home? I’d argue it’s not. At home, everyone just keeps their sin at home and to themselves. The level of tolerance for sin in the public arena at home is very low. Everyone is a good person and everyone accepts that. We assume everyone is a believer. We have no urgent concern for others’ salvation. When someone is rude or abusive or “sinful” publicly, it’s like the axis of society has tilted and everyone knows it. It takes us acknowledging how horrible that person is and how saintly we are for that axis to return to zero. 

But here… in Miami. Sin is public. Sin is welcomed… accepted… encouraged.

I think about my Christian friends, my Christian church, my Christian home, my Christian life. It’s wonderful, joyful, and truly a blessing. Jesus is there and He can be seen working in and among us.

But right now… I look out my window at a city that is broken. How can it ever be fixed? Jesus… Where are you? I need you to come fix this place. I feel small. How much faith does it take to walk one of these streets alone, and pray for the faces walking by, and believe that something will change? Let me tell you… It takes more faith than I have. I feel small. It’s encouraging and powerful to walk streets in prayer with other believers. But right now, alone, it’s hard. Jesus… Where are you?

The burden that I feel right now over the sin of this city sitting before me is still new to me. I’ve experienced it before in Turkey. And after returning from Turkey, it was like dragging a large block of ice behind me… And the burden of the lostness melted away into my daily routine. I don’t want to ever lose this burden… and I don’t want something as simple as my daily routine to take it away from me.

We’re not aware of our sin at home. C. S. Lewis sums it up in The Problem of Pain:
“When the apostles preached, they could assume even in their Pagan hearers a real consciousness of deserving the Divine anger. The Pagan mysteries existed to allay this consciousness, and the Epicurean philosophy claimed to deliver men from the fear of eternal punishment. It was against this background that the Gospel appeared as good news. It brought news of possible healing to men who knew that they were mortally ill. But all this has changed. Christianity now has to preach the diagnosis–in itself very bad news–before it can win a hearing for the cure.”
The Good News is no good news to those who don’t know the bad news.

Jesus, give me the faith to believe that this burden and weakness I feel have been slain upon the cross. You tore the curtain. And you have left us so that the Spirit may come. Holy Spirit move in this city. Give me the faith to believe. You reign in this place. This is a city of your precious children that you so dearly love. I weep with you over the souls in this place that do not know You, the gracious redeemer and giver of life. Lord, come. Jesus, you are here and you are pleading with souls to turn from their wicked ways and you are drawing hearts to you. Nothing is lost in this place… because you know right where everyone is. Jesus rain down your mercy and salvation on this place!

You.

May C.S. Lewis speak for himself… for it would be impossible for me to speak for him (I encourage you to read this several times)…

This signature on each soul may be a product of heredity and environment, but that only means that heredity and environment are among the instruments whereby God creates a soul. I am considering not how, but why, He makes each soul unique. If He had no use for all these differences, I do not see why He should have created more souls than one. Be sure that the ins and outs of your individuality are no mystery to Him; and one day they will no longer be a mystery to you. The mould in which a key is made would be a strange thing, if you had never seen a key: and the key itself a strange thing if you had never seen a lock. Your soul has a curious shape because it is a hollow made to fit a particular swelling in the infinite contours of the Divine substance, or a key to unlock one of the doors in the house with many mansions. For it is not humanity in the abstract that is to be saved, but you—you, the individual reader, John Stubbs or Janet Smith. Blessed and fortunate creature, your eyes shall behold Him and not another’s. All that you are, sins apart, is destined, if you will let God have His good way, to utter satisfaction. The Brocken spectre ‘looked to every man like his first love’, because she was a cheat. But God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love. Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it—made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand.

From The Problem of Pain. Copyright © 1940, C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. Copyright restored © 1996 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd.

words too big

I wrote this many, many, many years ago and just found it on my computer…

Something I believe has been lost somewhere in time is the power and utter meaning of words, or even one word. C.S. Lewis sums up my thoughts:

“Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say ‘infinitely’ when you mean ‘very’; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.”

The word “love” is used in many more ways than any other word I can think of. For instance, a boy and a girl in middle school have some sense of love and care and they say, “I love you.” Two teenagers in high school have a better understanding of dating relationships and they say, “I love you” and probably mean it in some way. A guy and girl in college have been through relationships in the past and know what they are really looking for in a relationship. They say, “I love you.” A man and woman marry and live an example of Christ’s love for the church. The “the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one.” The man tells his wife he loves her. But what is the difference between his word “love” and the 7th grader’s infatuation? Looking in from the outside, there should clearly be a separate word that this man should use to tell his wife how he feels. Or should the word only be used to describe true love?

You go see a movie and when later asked your opinion, you reply, “It was awesome!” At church on Sunday you sing about an Awesome God. Again, looking in, these obviously should be separate words. This movie has no comparison to Christ, yet the same exact word is used to describe both.

It’s about lunch time and you are ready to grab a bite to eat. The conversation most likely starts with “I’m hungry” or “I’m starving.” Some child in a third world country has not had a bite to eat in “forever,” and they are hungry and starving.

“It’s been forever since I’ve seen that show.” “I’ll spend forever in Heaven.” Our use of the word forever to describe a period of a month to years turns the word into a finite period of time.

“I hate bugs.” The Lord hates sin. I would rather not have bugs and could live without bugs, but they are not a direct offense to who I am. God hates sin. I hate bugs. God’s passion is lessened due to my expression of how much I dislike bugs.

So consider C.S. Lewis’s words… and take your words into consideration.




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