Have you ever heard the statement, “God gives us the desires of our hearts, for better or for worse?”
I recently dove back into C.S. Lewis’ “The Great Divorce.” If you’re not familiar with it, the basic premise is that Lewis describes a picture of Heaven and Hell where people willfully keep finding reasons not to enter into eternal life. They are consumed by one frustration or another, leaving them disenchanted with what Heaven would have to offer.
One such character, who seems to have led a fairly nefarious life, encounters a former associate who is now in Heaven. As the associate (who was a murderer himself) encourages him towards grace so that his former associate may also enter Heaven, the stubborn man keeps protesting that he should be let in on his quality alone. He doesn’t want “bleeding charity,” and declares, “I’m a decent man and if I had my rights I’d have been here long ago and you can tell them I said so.”
One of the beautiful questions that Lewis’ book asks of us today is: where do we trade the freedom and joy of the gift of grace for an unattainable sense of success and accomplishment?
When you think about it, grace is truly wonderful. There is nothing more liberating than grace. There is nothing more satisfying than grace. There is nothing more restorative than grace. Yet, if we’re being honest, the great paradox of our hearts is that we long so much more for success than grace. It’s the great illusion that stands before all of humanity, that there is some form of attainable success that will finally satisfy our hearts. As Lewis makes clear though in his work, all of eternity hinges not on our success, but HIS success and our pursuit of it through grace.
Where in your faith have you been fighting with the need to be successful, and the Lord is inviting you in this season to trade that for grace? If this is resonating with you, perhaps you’ll join me this summer in reading through “The Great Divorce” as a source of encouragement.
May the Lord bless you and keep you this week, and may His grace truly shine upon you,