How to avoid God

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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?




17 thoughts on “How to avoid God”

  1. The quotes are very deep but are man-made. I can’t prove god does exist or does not exist (I am now agnostic), but as an ex-christian I took the decision to rely on myself and take action myself in the world, rather than constantly praying to “something” to change things and they never change, and constantly praying for justice but justice never comes. This is why I now avoid god and all religious practices. Believing in god gives you false hope, hope which eventually leads to major disappointment and disillusionment.

    1. I am sorry you feel that way Karl, but can understand how unanswered prayers or answers to prayer that we don’t like can lead to disappointment or disillusionment. I think the fundamental issue is trusting God will work things out even though He does not seem to make sense according to our human understanding. In the Old Testament the lives of Joseph and Job bear testimony to this. In the New Testament this is supremely shown in Christ who when He prayed for another way out of dying in the Garden of Gethsemane, did not have His prayers answered either!
      Unanswered prayer is a mystery, but the cross teaches that the reason is not God does not love us – He has shown He does by dying for us.
      A favourite old prayer of mine is:
      “I asked God for strength that I might achieve. I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
      I asked for health that I might do greater things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
      I asked for riches that I might be happy. I was given poverty that I might be wise.
      I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
      I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
      I asked for all things that I might enjoy life.
      I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
      I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
      Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
      I am, among all men, most richly blessed.”

      Thank you my friend for your honest comments!

        1. I would suggest that behind the question why bother asking God for anything is another question – how do we view God? Is God there just to give me what I want or is there something much bigger and deeper He is seeking to do in our lives? Even a human parent does not give their child everything that child asks for, realising that often the child lacks wisdom or maturity to handle it. How much more so with us and God whose wisdom and perspective is so much greater than our own?
          A quote I recently came across from Tim Keller:
          ‘God always gives His child what they would have asked for if they knew everything that He knows.’

          The problem is that we so often lack the full picture and have to trust in faith without all the answers.
          That can create profound mystery at times, but where else is there to go?
          Thank you once again for your honest questions, Karl.

  2. in the Book of Genesis God asks the question of Adam ‘why were you hiding’. Adam replied ‘I was naked and afraid’. In the same way a piece of clay is at the mercy of the potter, so are humans are at the mercy of our God. The Character of God is merciful but then we have to live with that expectation. The ‘Will’ is bound up in our expectations of the future and our intended future is never the path we tread rather the mechanism of our self-manipulation until Gods Grace appears. It may be easier in the short-term to hide from God but the brokenness of ourselves and life will intrude so that in the end we will live with the denial that were were our own deceiver and deceived- as our frailties become more constant in our lives than our strengths, our Will denies the reality of it’s failed expectations -it will be too late to muscle the Will-power to curtail its grip and the Will which we have trained to assert the denial of God will assert this fact as its own refuge so it’s owner will become increasingly bound by the limits of the denial as they are caught up in their trap of deceits. Anyone who denies God has a lot to learn about the magnitude of His love for us despite our lowly condition

    1. Thank you Dave.
      Yes avoiding God over a life time has huge implications. It is so good to know that He does not leave us in our self-denial and self-deception, but continues to seek us out. That has certainly been my experience.

      1. Sunil, I never asked god to give me “everything I want”, but it’s not unreasonable for me to expect a minimum amount of care, which is all I wanted. Instead, despite tithing for 6 years, he’s left us in poverty, and allowed bad financial things to make us suffer more. My human father was not the best in the world, but he at least provided a minimum and I never went without. Lets say I never knew my dad and after 30 years I decided to get in contact with him. I find out that not only is he a millionaire, but he wrote a book about himself and certain rules to follow, such as phoning and visiting him regularly, and paying money to him every month. He promises that eventually, he will open his store-house and I’ll have more than enough running over. 6 years later I’m still poor, still struggling and not only that, I find out that he knew something bad was going to happen financially to me, but he didn’t warn me. I decide that I’ve had enough of his promises and since I didn’t need him before, why do I need him now, and it’s cost me. He keeps trying to contact me but the bridge is burned and I just can’t bring myself to trust him again. That’s how I feel.

        1. Once again thank you for your honest comments and willingness to share your feelings and frustrations, Karl.
          I am left wondering what is, as you put it, ‘a minimum amount of care’? You have your expectation, which at this point in your life, God has not met, but the question is where does the idea come that God owes me anything? Even though you are disappointed with how things have turned out, I can also confidently say that there are literally millions of people around the world who would love to be in your position.
          Things could always be better or worse than they currently are, but is that necessarily God’s fault?
          Biblical Scripture is very clear that we live in a broken and fallen world. Things are not the way God intends and He is doing something about it – but not necessarily according to the way I want or can understand in the here and now.
          That is best illustrated by the cross. It looked a complete disaster at the time, and everyone who was there thought so too, but now in hindsight we can see it, and the New Testament describes it, as the most important event in history! I would encourage you to read about it in the Gospels and look at your disappointments through the cross.

  3. Hi Sunil, you’re might be thinking “is this post still going on???”, I wouldn’t blame you. I think god DOES owe us SOMETHING, afterall, he apparently created us!! I owe it to my daughter to keep her fed, clothed, loved and to protect her from harm. Obviously she might sometimes fall over and I’ll be too late and I can’t protect her from everything since I’m only human, but if I could see something about to happen to my daughter that would hurt her and I didn’t act, that would be negligent. However, god is supposed to be omniscient, omnipotent etc yet he allows bad things to happen to people who actually acknowledge his existence and worship him, so it does beg the question what is the point.

    1. That is an interesting way to look at it, Karl.
      Keeping to your example with your very young daughter I am sure you can envisage instances that will (or maybe already have) arise when what you want for her is not in sync with what she wants. Say, for instance she were to insist on sweets for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You with your greater understanding and love for her will withhold that, but because of her young age it would be very easy for her to perceive that as a lack of love and care on your part.
      Now the distance in wisdom and understanding between us and God must be more than a million times that between a young infant and their parent.
      Unanswered prayer is a mystery with our limited understanding, and we are called to trust when we don’t understand. The reason why we go through trials and problems is not always clear, but what we can be sure of, because of the cross, the reason is not a lack of love on God’s part.
      As Tim Keller likes to say there is no water-tight answer, but there is a water-tight person in Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life and undeservedly suffered and died out of love for us.
      I appreciate your willingness to keep asking and engage with these difficult questions.

  4. in the life some times it’s happen when we avoid God.But one things that is true that He does not leaves.

  5. In the modern world there are many who claim to be God but are not. People are confused to believe who is the true God. This also causes people to avoid God.

    1. Thank you Sunil Kumar for your observation (by the way I like your name!!)
      I think the issue in our world is that people like to make a God of their own imagination who will then agree with them. Unfortunately that is an imaginary God. With the real God for you to have relationship with Him you are going to have to at some point disagree with each other.

      1. I think the issue in our world is that people like to make a God of their own imagination who will then agree with them.

        I agree with this.

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