A Counselor Reflects on Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
“Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in (p. 227).” Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
One of the most common maladies of human perception can be summarized in the sentence, “We tend to see first what we fear most.” Think about it.
- If you fear rejection, what will you hear in most conversations?
- If you fear failure, what will you see the strong possibility of in most situations?
- If you fear insignificance, how will you see most of your accomplishments?
This is not a call to positive thinking. Pride can be just as distorting as insecurity and often carries much greater consequences. The traces of humility found in insecurity often allow it to be a less destructive distortion.
Instead, this is a call to self-awareness. What are you looking for and how does it affect what you see and what you feel? The influence is inevitable. Either we will become aware of blindness and ask God for eyes to see or we will remain blind to our blindness.
Those who look to or in themselves for hope will realize there is not “enough.” They may then despise themselves (hatred), isolate (loneliness), give up (despair), get angry (rage), make self-destructive choices (ruin), or merely do the best they can (decay). Regardless where they look determines what they see and what they do.
Those who look to Christ for hope will find that there is “more than enough.” Actually these individuals will see the same life challenges that those in the previous paragraph experience. Looking to Christ does not change our circumstances; in the sense of removing obstacles.
However, they will see these challenges not as threats or insults which must be faced alone, but as the next chapters of their growing relationship with Christ. Pain will still hurt. Disappointment will still sting. Loss will still generate grief.
But in each of these moments, those who look to Christ will be freed from looking within themselves for answers to questions that are bigger than they are (a recipe for inevitable failure). They will be able to turn to the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9-22) for perspective and comfort.
Like a child who looks to his/her parent when something unsettling happens; seeking to draw comfort from their experience or demeanor, we can look to God who is not caught off guard and is not threatened to gain comfort and perspective.
When we can face the hard seasons of our life with this confidence, then it allows us to savor the good seasons of our life without fear. We do not have to wait for “the other shoe to drop” or scheme how to freeze this moment in time. We can life like children who trust their parents to care for them. This is what it means to get “everything else thrown in.”