In case you didn’t catch it, I whined my way through several challenges yesterday. None of them were earth-shatteringly huge. In popular parlance, you could even say they were “first world problems.” A day later, there is a richness of perspective that comes with a time of worship, prayer and Scripture reading. I’ve also read a little C.S. Lewis, and this little gem from Letters to Malcolm helped, too.
Gratitude exclaims, very properly, “How good of God to give me this.” Adoration says, ‘What must be the quality of that Being whose far-off and momentary coruscations* are like this!” One’s mind runs back up the sunbeam to the sun…
William Law remarks that people are merely “amusing themselves” by asking for the patience which a famine or a persecution would call for if, in the meantime, the weather and every other inconvenience sets them grumbling. One must learn to walk before one can run. So here. We — or at least I — shall not be able to adore God on the highest occasions if we have learned no habit of doing so on the lowest. At best, our faith and reason will tells us that He is adorable, but we shall not have found Him so, not have “tasted and seen” Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something abou the sun which you never get from reading books on astronomy. These pure and spontaneous pleasures are “patches of Godlight” in the woods of our experience.
Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, Letter XVII
As I pondered Lewis’ words, the memory of a lovely walk on a fall day came to mind. The patches of sun and shadow breathtaking, the leaves highlighted by the afternoon sun. In and out of the warmth of the sun, up and down the steep trails, the lovely afternoon stirred my soul to sing…
When through the woods and forest glades I wander, and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees…
Then sings my soul, My Savior, God, to Thee, ‘How Great Thou Art’…”
There are moments on life’s journey that it is hard to sing. I would be lying if I said otherwise. But the moments when I remember to adore God in the “sunlight” will surely help me to respond that way in the lowest and darkest moments of human experience. Or, as Lewis says, when I am in the “patches of Godlight” in the woods of our experience.
I’ll trip again on the path. But my adoration will continue.
* I didn’t know what it meant, either. 🙂