Monday, January 25, 2016

God wants to give you a real an eternal happiness!

I am currently reading God in the Dock for my reading list this year (side note: for the longest time I thought the title was God on the Dock... I kept wondering what the story was going to be that had God sitting on a dock staring out at the water... Anyhow, several months ago I realized my mistake, but I still look at the book title and laugh. My engineering brain amusingly mixes words up all the time). This gem was hidden in a question and answer session with C.S. Lewis. I have always found his answers on suffering and difficulties to be helpful. I highly recommend his book, The Problem of Pain for more on the subject.

Q: Many people feel resentful or unhappy because they think they are the target of unjust fate. These feelings are stimulated by bereavement, illness, deranged domestic or working conditions, or the observation of suffering in others. What is the Christian view of this problem?

Lewis: The Christian view is that men were created to be in a certain relationship to God (if we are in that relation to Him, the right relation to one another will follow inevitably). Christ said it was difficult for "the rich" to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, referring, no doubt, to "riches" in the ordinary sense. But I think it really covers riches at every sense – good fortune, health, popularity, and all the things one wants to have. All these things tend – just as money tends – to make you feel independent of God, because if you have them you are happy already and contented in this life. You don't want to turn away to anything more and so you try to rest in a shadowy happiness as if it could last for ever. But God wants to give you a real an eternal happiness.

Consequently, He may have to take all these “riches” away from you: if He doesn't, you will go on relying on them. It sounds cruel, doesn’t it? But I am beginning to find out that what people call cruel doctrines are really the kindest ones in the long run. I used to think it was a “cruel” doctrine to say that troubles and sorrows were “punishments”. But I find in practice that when you are in trouble, the moment you regard it as a “punishment”, it becomes easier to bear. If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it's not so bad.

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