Right in the centre - To be or not be in God’s will


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

C. S. Lewis observed: “What Satan put into the heads of our remote ancestors was the idea that they could ‘be like gods’– could set up on their own as if they had created themselves– be their own masters– invent some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history– money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery– the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

Lewis is best known for his works of fiction, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia and The Space Trilogy and for his non-fiction Christian apologetics, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles and The Problem of Pain. Lewis was a very good writer and he also had a small connection to western Manitoba. Lewis’ cousin was the Rev. Richard Lloyd-Davies, an Anglican priest who served in Neepawa and Brandon. Lloyd-Davies told me personally that the famous “wardrobe” in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was a wardrobe or closet in the Lewis house and Lloyd-Davies played in that wardrobe as a child.

But back to the statement at the beginning of this column, about inventing some sort of happiness for themselves outside God, apart from God. Lewis identifies the troubles that mankind has gotten into for all the centuries since people’s time on earth began. One can argue creation being 6,000 to 7,000 years ago or millions of years ago. It doesn’t much matter as people have often drifted away from God’s plan in pursuit of an alternative.

There is a funny story told about a very learned professor who was so well educated and so heavy into bio-sciences that he decided to challenge God to a creation test. He walked right up to God and stated, “I can make a man out of dust just like you did.” God replied, “Go ahead!” Being up for the challenge, the professor stooped down to pick up some dirt just like God had done to create Adam. God stepped forward and said, “Just a minute sir, you have to find your own dirt.”

Then there is the story of the three men who died and went to heaven. The first made his case before God that he had faith in Jesus and he had been a good servant. He was asked to sit at God’s side. The second man made his case before God that he had faith in Jesus and had done many things to help the poor. He was invited to sit at God’s side. The third man made his case before God that he had faith in Jesus and he had worked hard, but he was a bit arrogant. God paused as he thought about where to seat the third man when, out of his well practised arrogance, he blurted out to God, “I think you are in my chair.” That might not have ended well.

Lewis’ point is well taken. Mankind tries to invent and re-invent things to do that will replace God. Life can be so simple. We are born, we live and we die. If we accept God, his plan and salvation, the live is pretty straightforward, in spite of the tragedies that may befall us. God is good, even in the hardest of times. 

Disclaimer: The writer serves as a volunteer president of the Manitoba Community Newspaper Association. The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being  the view of the MCNA board or Banner & Press staff.