C.S. Lewis: Embarrassed

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Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. Psalm 33:8

“When we want to be something other than the thing God wants us to be, we must be wanting what, in fact, will not make us happy. Those divine demands which sound to our natural ears most like those of a despot and least like those of a lover, in fact marshall us where we should want to go if we knew what we wanted.

He demands our worship, our obedience, our prostration. Do we suppose that they can do Him any good, or fear, like the chorus in Milton, that human irreverence can bring about “His glory’s diminution”? A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word “darkness” on the walls of his cell.

But God wills our good, and our good is to love Him (with that responsive love proper to creatures) and to love Him we must know Him: and if we know Him, we shall in fact fall on our faces. if we do not, that only shows that what we are trying to love is not yet God — though it may be the nearest approximation to God which our thought and fantasy can attain.

Yet the call is not only to prostration and awe; it is to a reflection of the divine life, a creaturely participation in the divine attributes which is far beyond our present desires. We are bidden to “put on Christ”, to become like God. That is, whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want. Once more, we are embarrassed by the intolerable compliment, by too much love, not too little.”

C.S. Lewis in The Problem of Pain (Samizdat University Press: Quebec, 2016) 29-30.

What do worship, obedience, and prostration have to do with generosity? Everything. Our God is so good, “whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want.” Our only right response is worship, obedience, and prostration.

Think of how this comes into view in our relationship with Him and then with others. He gives us the grace and forgiveness we need, so we get to dispense it to others. He lavishes us with love, so we get to shower it on others. He wants us to be like Christ in the world, so what are we waiting for?

Today I return home from Sioux Falls where I have had meetings with amazing people the last few days. I’ve tried to take a posture of worship, obedience, and awe while traveling. What if we dispensed so much love and generosity that we embarrassed people wherever we went?