Last year for the first time I read through the “Screwtape Letters” in the month of October a chapter a day. I’m doing the something this year…
If you do not know what the Screwtape Letters are, it is a short book that was written by C.S. Lewis. The Letters are “written by Screwtape” a demon that is instructing is disciple Wormwood, on how to temp and keep a human as “theirs”. How to use that human to their purposes instead of God’s – who by the way is referred to as “the Enemy” throughout the book.
Today, of course I read chapter 8 – or letter 8 if your prefer. Screwtape speaks to the moment that a Christian no longer “feels” the presence of God. Here is an except that describes what God is doing when he “takes away His hand” from a person and what He is trying to accomplish.
“He (God) wants them to learn to walk and therefore must take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our causes is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks around upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken and still obeys.“
A few things…
First – we are in the middle of a spiritual war and whereas sometimes we ignore that fact with the way we go about our lives, the opposing side never forgets it and is always engaged.
Second – God is pleased even when we stumble if we are trying our best to walk in the way He wants us to walk. We can so quickly convince ourselves we are worthless because of a sin we allowed ourselves to fall into but if we have the focus and the desire to follow God and are actively pursuing that, or Father in Heaven is still pleased with our heart for Him and will help us not fall again if we just reach out to Him. The Devil wants us to think that God is disappointed in us, but that never is the case especially if people are trying to follow Him the best they can.
Finally – remember every time you obey God and not your flesh, not the world and not the devil, is a moment you cause them to tremble and lose confidence. It’s not that they will shrink back and not attack again but every act of obedience to God makes their influence on your life weaker.
It puts their objectives in jeopardy.