After I posted the last entry regarding the need for Notes for the Rest of Us, UCB came up trumps. The last four days’ readings have discussed the times in life when praying feels like throwing pennies into a black-hole sized wishing well. I have also just finished reading Alister McGrath’s Doubt in Perspective which is an honest discussion of some of the things I’ve been thinking. And on the back of that, I have gone back to my copy of the Screwtape Letters. I read this once, a couple of years ago when everything in life was, well, not exactly rosy, but probably I was more hopeful. At the time I thought it interesting, amusing – but now, when I struggle with pessimism and cynicism and would prefer to slap the happy clappers than join in… well, now, the message comes into its own.
Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never in greater danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending to do our Enemy’s will, looks around upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys. (p40 in my 2002 edition).
It is rather reassuring that one can identify exactly the issues, threats and doubts encountered. Somehow this makes it all more believable than the prounouncements of well-meaning friends; it also highlights hidden and ingrained attitudes of my own that could bear examination.