C.S. Lewis observes in his book, The Problem Of Pain:
“We find God an interruption. As St Augustine says, ‘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.’ ”
Do you have that feeling that your ‘hands are full’ and ‘busy’ is more a description of who you are than what you do? When pain and sorrow comes to live with you having “all you want” takes on new meaning, doesn’t it? No one cares about a new car or a cute house in times of deepest trouble. Suffering has a way of grabbing our attention and focusing our goals on what is truly important.
Lewis observes the role of pain and sorrow in getting our attention:
“If the first and lowest operation of pain shatters the illusion that all is well, the second shatters the illusion that what we have is our own and enough for us. Everyone has noticed how hard 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. 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. What then can God do in our interests but make ‘our own life’ less agreeable to us, and take away the plausible source of false happiness?”
Do you have all you want? I remember the wife of a former Maytag executive commenting how life was more fulfilling and exciting when they were less wealthy and striving to make ends meet. If all we want doesn’t include God it will never be enough. It’s like having an emergency parachute but not the ability to truly catch your breath and find peace.
“The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”
“…nor is (God) served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;”