Sunday, April 25, 2010

Through the Looking-Glass

I don't know about you but evenings are often the hardest times for me to stay spiritually focused. I am usually tired; and it’s easy to let mad thoughts run wild.

Last night’s battle was particularly thick … and so I did what I always do in moments of acute psychological crisis: I reached for a box of chocolates and a book. The one lying on my bedtable just now is Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass and it is wonderful.

I opened to where I’d left off: Alice is standing on the edge of the forest in Looking-Glass world, talking with the White Queen. The sky is growing light and Alice, who mistook a large crow for the sunset, is relieved:

“‘The crow must have flown away, I think,’ said Alice. ‘I’m so glad it’s gone. I thought it was the night coming on.”

‘I wish I could manage to be glad!’ the Queen said. ‘Only I never can remember the rule. You must be very happy, living in this wood, and being glad whenever you like!’

‘Only it is so very lonely here!’ Alice said in a melancholy voice; and, at the thought of her loneliness, two large tears came rolling down her cheeks.

‘Oh, don’t go on like that!’ cried the poor Queen, wringing her hands in despair.

‘Consider what a great girl you are. Consider what a long way you’ve come today. Consider what o’clock it is. Consider anything, only don’t cry!’

Alice could not help laughing at this, even in the midst of her tears. ‘Can you keep from crying by considering things?’ she asked.

‘That’s the way it’s done,’ the Queen said with great decision: ‘nobody can do two things at once, you know.’”

I dog-eared the page and leaned back in wonder. Why but for the Christian that IS precisely how it’s done! I thought. At least, in a way.

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to remain angry when you are considering the charge to "Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice;" and to "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you" (Eph. 4.31-32)?

How difficult it is to ruminate on an unjust word when you consider Christ, who, “...while being reviled, did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously!”

It is so very hard to be ungrateful when I remember Paul's bold declaration to the Philippians: “[M]y God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4.19).

But responding in this way to the trials of life necessitates a kind of mental discipline; it requires the willful act of choosing one thing over another, of electing ‘this’ instead of ‘that’ - often in defiance of one's deepest feelings and inclinations.

Perhaps my biggest challenge is willing myself to move these words from the pages of my Bible to the deepest recesses of my heart; and to discipline my mind to meditate on the words of God when it is often much easier to compose elaborate arguments against Him.

In such moments, my greatest motivator to overcoming my own obstinate nature is the fact that when I open my Bible I am being given the opportunity to encounter a Person.

For the Bible is not just a compilation of words, written to delight or distract me from my current emotional crisis. Neither is it a self-help guide to positive thinking. No, it is a means of accessing the living, breathing Savior of the Universe. As a living testament, it reveals not only God’s character, but God Himself: and where the Spirit of Christ is, there is power - power to sanctify and cleanse, but most importantly to transform the parts of my mind which would otherwise conform to the thoughts and opinions of this world.

For all of these reasons, I consider meditating on Scripture to be the best form of psychotherapy there is … not only because it is a means of gaining intimacy with Christ - though that should be reason enough all on its own - but because it works.

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." ~Romans 12.2


Mom said...

Powerful......and true! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Unable to give you a heart. so have a reply to push up your post. ........................................