Below is a quote from the author of the Narnia series, C.S. Lewis that has had an influence on me for years. I’d encourage you to stop for a couple of minutes and slowly read it.
“Looking for God—or Heaven—by exploring space is like reading or seeing all Shakespeare’s plays in the hope that you will find Shakespeare as one of the characters… My point is that, if God does exist, He is related to the universe more as an author is related to a play than as one object in the universe is related to another…How, then, it may be asked, can we either reach or avoid Him?
The avoiding, in many times and places, has proved so difficult that a very large part of the human race failed to achieve it. But in our own time and place it is extremely easy.
Avoid silence, avoid solitude, avoid any train of thought that leads off the beaten track. Concentrate on money, sex, status, health, and (above all) on your own grievances. Keep your radio on. Live in a crowd. Use plenty of sedation. If you must read books, select them very carefully. But you’d be safer to stick to the papers. You’ll find the advertisements helpful; especially those with a sexy or snobbish appeal.”
The challenge for me reading such a quote is that it goes so much against the grain of what is popular thinking in general culture and the media – and that in essence is the same wherever you look in the world.
There is something about much of popular thinking that is so often shallow and so opposed to asking the questions that really matter. It takes a deliberate effort and choice to decide how I am going to think and look at life and the challenges before me.
Jesus Himself in the Sermon on the Mount talks of a broad way that leads to destruction and a narrow way that leads to life. (See Matthew 7:13-14 in the New Testament.)
It also takes a concerted effort to come out of all that is going on around us to seek answers to the really important issues of life – why am I here and why do I matter?
The noise caused by technology and our busy world is so frenetic that I have to be intentional in creating space and time for myself if I am going to be able to discern the still small voice of God above all that is popular and loud.
You can read about my attempts at that in the posts entitled Harnessing the power of technology part 2.
So it is easy, if we really want to, in the busy pace of modern life to tune out the still small eternal voice, but what can we, in the long run hope to show for that? Without an eternal perspective so much of life seems just trivial and meaningless. But with an eternal perspective everything can then become meaningful.
I love this translation of the original Hebrew of Psalm 46:10 from a version called The Message:
“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”
Lewis expands on this ‘stepping out of the traffic’:
The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job of each morning consists of shoving them all back: in listening to that other voice, taking the other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.
Paradoxically although we will try to avoid it, only this ‘other, larger, stronger quieter life’ can satisfy and really fulfil our restless hearts.
How about you?
What do these quotes and comments say to you?
Do you recognise this tendency within yourself to want to avoid God?