Monday, June 20, 2011

"Before Your Face Questions Die Away. What Other Answer Would Suffice?"

"I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?" C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces.
If you are at all like me, often when life overwhelms you, you become somewhat frantic, looking everywhere for a solution and a reason for the pain.  If we remain in such a state for any length of time, it will begin to damage our souls.  I believe that God, in His grace, generally allows us to know the reason for our suffering.  Yet, there are clearly times when we can not discern the reason for our pain, and never will.  At times like this, what is a person to do?  If we take C.S. Lewis's advice here, we are simply to sit back and gaze in wonder at the greatness of God, despite not hearing the answer to our question.

This quote reminds me of Psalm 46.  In that Psalm, the sons of Korah talk about, "the earth changing", "mountains slipping into the sea", and "nations making an uproar."  Yet, the Psalmists call upon us to, "Be still and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10).

The clearest example of this is Job.  Job suffered devastation upon devastation.  The vast majority of the book is Job asking, "Why? What have I done?"  God never answers Job. Essentially, God tells Job to, "be quiet and know that I am God."  And Job's response? "I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; but now my eye sees Thee; therefore, I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes." (Job 42:5-6).

As our world is falling down around us, if we remain in the anxiety for too long, we will damage our hearts. Instead, even when we do not understand why something is happening, we need to step back and remind ourselves that God is on the throne.  As we gaze at that throne, our hearts become still, and the thing so of this world, "will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."

This is something that I constantly need to remind myself.  How about you?


  1. Excellent reminder. Made me think of passages from Isaiah that I studied this past year:

    Isaiah 40:12-14
    "Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and marked off the heaven by the span, and calculated the dust of the earth by the measure, and weighed the mountains in a balance, and the hills in a pair of scales? Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, or as His counselor has informed Him? With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge, and informed HIm of the way of understanding?"
    Isaiah 40:21-22
    "Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who sits abut the vault of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in."
    Isaiah 40:26
    "Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing."
    Isaiah 40:30-31
    "Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary."

    Isaiah 44:21-23
    "Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are My servant;
    I have formed you, you are My servant, O Israel, you will not be forgotten by Me. I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud, and your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you. Should for joy, O heavens, for the Lord has done it! Shout joyfully, you lower parts of the earth; Break forth into a shout of joy, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it; For the Lord has redeemed Jacob and in Israel He show forth His glory."

  2. Thank you for posting these scriptures - when you've gone through so much sometimes you forget - thanks for the reminder