I am working my way through my thrift store find “C.S. Lewis readings for reflection and meditation” edited by Walter Hooper. For the longest time the second reading entitled The Intolerable Compliment pg. 20, stumped me. I could not make sense of the approximately 187 words of this reflection.
The meditation is from “The Problem of Pain” chapter 3 and starts by positioning human happiness within the following parameters:
- a life spent in worship of the Divine
- a life spent obedient to the Divine and
- a life spent in submission to the Divine
For the longest time this is as far as I went before my internal challenges stopped me. Where is free will? My God given right to create my own life to be self-determined? I do not believe in a Creator God that wants humanity to be automatons - that equation is devoid of love and my God is the essence from which all love flows.
C. S. Lewis anticipated my response and in the next verse says this sounds more like a “despot” a tyrant than a loving God. And now comes the part the stumped me and of which I am not sure I grasp even now.
“Do we suppose that we can do him any good?”
How does my happiness through worshiping, being obedient to and prostrating myself to the Divine link to God's good or lack thereof?
Then understanding started to form just outside my conscious knowing and as I write this it continues to flicker there. To understand what Lewis means I reflected on my experience as a parent and grandparent where I work every day to provide an environment where my children can find happiness and their happiness or lack thereof does not make me less of a parent genetics and adoption make me that. God is God nothing I do or don't do changes that fact, my worship, obedience and supplication to God will result in my happiness not a greater God.
Lewis ends by reminding us we are to follow in Christ's example by living a life full of love, stewardship in all things and servant hood because it brings self-awareness, mindfulness in all things and yes happiness.
God's love for us is so encompassing that in every moment of my life God is guiding me to, providing opportunity for me to know true happiness not for God's glory, no because God loves me, personally and passionately.
Yes it is an intolerable complement to know my God loves me that much - Intolerable and wonderful all at the same time. So I strive to live a life of worship, obedience and supplication to my creator.