It is easy to turn to God when we are experiencing times of trouble, when all hope is lost and we have no other option, when we have “lost control” of our lives.
It can be incredibly difficult to turn to God when things are going well, when we feel as if the things we have are because of our own hard work, because we deserve to be successful. I have been told that people who “trust in God” or “give things up to God” lackagency in their own life. I have had conversations with family members about this very thing. They passionately believe that everything good in their lives is because they deserve it. Because they’ve “earned” it. Because they’ve made good choices. But I would argue that in the grand scheme of things, none of us have “earned” anything. We are where we are because of the accident of birth or because the stars aligned, because we only had a few choices to make, or…because we are exactly where God put us.
In his book The Problem of Pain C.S. Lewis writes on this very subject and I wanted to share that with you today.
“The human spirit will not even begin to try to surrender self-will as long as all seems to be well with it. Now error and sin both have this property, that the deeper they are the less their victim suspects their existence; they are masked evil. Pain is unmasked, unmistakable evil, every man knows that something is wrong when he is being hurt….
…But pain insists upon being attended to, God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, bu shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
…Everyone has noticed how hard it it is to turn our thoughts to God when everything is going well with us. We “have all we want” is a terrible saying when “all” does not include God. We find God an interruption. As St. Augustine says somewhere, “God wants to give us something, but cannot, because our hands are full – there’s nowhere for Him to put it.” Or as a friend of mine said, “We regard God as an airman regards his parachute; it’s there for emergencies but he hopes he’ll never have to use it.” Now God who has made us, knows what we are and that our happiness lies in Him. Yet we will not seek it in Him as long as He leaves us any other resort where it can even plausibly be looked for.” While what we call “our own life” remains agreeable we will not surrender it to Him.
…”The dangers of apparent self-sufficiency explain why Our Lord regards the vices of the feckless and dissipated so much more leniently that the vices that lead to worldly success. Prostitutes are in no danger of finding their present life so satisfactory that they cannot turn to God: the proud, the avaricious, the self-righteous, are in that danger.”
If things are going well in your life, maybe today is the day you take God off the back burner. Maybe today is the day you put something down, the day that you make sure your hands aren’t so full that God doesn’t have a place to give you another blessing.