George MacDonald was a Scottish author whose books were very influential in the life of CS Lewis. Two of MacDonald’s books were “Phantastes” and “Lilith.” The quality that most impressed Lewis about these books was holiness. On the strength of that I purchased these books. Dare I admit it – I had difficulty even understanding them!
I am thinking of the current situation when I post this quotation from Phantastes by George MacDonald. It is the final statement from the book:
‘Yet I know that good is coming to me – that good is always coming; though few have at all times the simplicity and the courage to believe it. What we call evil is the only and best shape, which, for the person and his condition at the time, could be assumed by the best good.’ (Phantastes, p. 213).
You may need to ponder this from MacDonald for a while.
It really doesn’t matter if the panic over the virus is justified; or if the panic should be about something else (like, would one of the conspiracy theories be something more than just a theory?). In a sense, through the present worldwide crisis, God is speaking to all peoples in a way He has not spoken for a very long time.
Covid-19 is causing many people much pain. CS Lewis in his book, ‘The Problem of Pain,’ says: “We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
In my mind, George MacDonald’s statement above lines up well with pandemic fallout and Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
If you are uncertain as to how to respond to what is happening in our world today, then this action may work best to strengthen your immunity: “. . . give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18
If you go here you will find 31 science-backed benefits of gratitude.
God detests the prayers of a person who ignores the law. (Proverbs 28:9 (NLT))
Which law is the Preacher referring to? Is it the law that governs all of creation, the law that God has woven into everything He has made, the principles that Christian Schwarz and Stephen Covey and Andy Stanley – and many others – write about? Principles that are unchanging and unchangeable and self-evident (when you really think about them)?
God detests such prayers because they are prayers He cannot answer the way the pray-ers are wanting Him to answer. Such requests are like a person who sows carrot seed in the garden, and then prays that God will cause parsnips to grow!
What can God do with a prayer like that?
Does this have anything to say about giving thanks before eating food we like rather than food that is good for us?
The whole idea here is that we are praying to God for things that, if He were to answer by approving our requests, would cause the whole creation to fall apart; prayers that God simply cannot answer, prayers He detests because if He were to answer the way we want Him to, He would be denying Himself, acting in opposition to His own nature.
Are some of our prayers for evangelism and church growth like that, that is to say, God cannot answer them because He would be denying His character?
When we do the survey, control over the quality of our church is placed in our own hands.
God is showing us, through his people and by His Spirit where we should make adjustments so that He can better display His power through our church. Not only does the survey result enlighten us as to where God is doing His best work in our church, but where we should now focus in order that He is empowered to do what He has always wanted to do in and through our community of faith.
The Preacher says, “God detests the prayers of a person who ignores the law.” (Proverbs 28:9) The law here is not the ceremonial law, but the moral law, those great principles that God has woven through His whole creation. Sometimes our conscious prayers are contradicted by our unconscious prayers. If God were to answer some of our prayers it would be the end of creation.
I am serious about that. It would be impossible for God to answer because we are not in the right space, and if God were to respond to our prayers in the way we want Him to, He would be denying Himself.
Sometimes we pray God will act in our church when He is waiting for us to act; to address the issues uncovered by the survey result.