Empath

Loveless people have been loved less.

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A SATIRICAL BOOK: The Screwtape Letters

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“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” 

Been wanting to read a C. S. Lewis classic since I’ve completed The Chronicles of Narnia (which I will soon be reading again), and last Christmas I was blessed to receive a compilation of all his classics as a gift. The Screwtape Letters is the first book that I’ve finished from the collection.

What it’s about: 

The book is a series of letters written by Screwtape, a senior demon in service to “Our Father Below”, to his nephew Wormwood, a junior tempter.  The letters are to mentor Wormwood into ensuring the damnation of a British young man that Screwtape referred to as “The Patient,” who was relatively new to Christianity. Each letter features a phase in the young man’s life and whether or not Wormwood was successful in luring him away from “The Enemy,” and into their wicked ways.

My Rating: 

5 I-didn’t-see-this-coming stars 

This book was honestly a surprise. I was preparing for a lecture-type narrative from C.S. Lewis, but instead I got a trip inside the head of a devil (which should not be assumed to be true even from his own angle as C.S. Lewis mentioned in his Preface). The letters were very convicting, that they made me stop and reflect at my own life. Though the tone was humorous, each letter tackled serious issues about a human soul, which should not be left unchecked.

The author also gave glimpses of God’s character through Screwtape’s reminders. I have highlighted a lot of statements, but this one is my favorite:

“…the prayers offered in the state of dryness are those which please Him best… He cannot ‘tempt’ to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

There will be times that we’ll feel as if God has withdrawn from us, but rather than feeling scared and defeated, we must see these moments as opportunities to cling onto His character and draw closer to Him in prayer. Because the truth is He will never leave our side. And that sometimes He allows moments of desperation to teach us how to decisively seek Him with all our hearts.

 

 

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13

 

 

 

Leadership Pains

Chapters Read: Numbers 23:1 – 36:13

Moses said to the Lord, “May the Lord, the God who gives breath to all living things, appoint someone over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the Lord’s people will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”

So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership…”

– Numbers 27:15-18

 

I think this is the most painful point of Moses’ leadership–the realization that God’s word is final. He won’t make it to the promised land. But instead of questioning the Lord, Numbers 27:15-16 showed Moses’ humility. As he had done numerous times during their journey in the wilderness, he interceded on Israel’s behalf. He loved his people enough to ask the Lord to take care of them by appointing someone capable of leading them, as a shepherd to a sheep.

I heard this from Dr. Sam Chand in a conference that I recently attended: “If you’re not bleeding, you’re not leading.” He called this BLEEDERSHIP. And this was true not only for Moses, but for every leader recorded in the Bible. It remains true today. Pain is necessary because without it, we won’t develop into the people God intended us to be. As Dr. Chand also said, “You will grow only to the threshold of your pain.”

And maybe this was what God meant when He said that the spirit of leadership is in Joshua. That he’s a man of so much pain capacity–strong enough to win victories for the Lord, yet humble enough to serve His people.