Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Daily Disciplines and Eternal Consequences
In his short fantasy novel, “The Great Divorce” C.S. Lewis follows a man who is given the opportunity to travel to a fictitious “Heaven.” This “Heaven” includes both the saved (the “Solid People”) as well as the unsaved (“Ghosts,” who are residents of “the town” or Hell). In this fictional novel, even who are not saved are given the opportunity to visit this Heaven. Lewis, of course, tells his readers not to think that this conception of Heaven is in any way theologically-sound. The novel does provide us, however, with a great glimpse into a very basic (but often overlooked) aspect of our Christian lives-that is, how seemingly small decisions made every day will ultimately impact who we become, not only in this life but in eternity. In other words, every day decisions will ultimately impact our desires, our personality, and who it is that we become, in Christ. During one interaction between the main character and a member of the Solid People, we are told, “Not only this valley but all their earthly past will have been Heaven to those who are saved. Not only the twilight in that town, but all their life on Earth too, will then be seen by the damned to have been Hell. That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering ,”No future bliss can make up for it,” not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. And of some sinful pleasure they say, “Let me have but this and I’ll take the consequences”: little dreaming how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of the sin. Both processes begin even before death. The good man’s past begins to change so that his forgiven sins and remembered sorrows take on the qualify of Heaven; the bad man’s past already conforms to his badness and is filled only with dreariness.” C.S. Lewis, Great Divorce, Page 69. As we grieve the death of our child, will we renew ourselves, day after day, in the promises of Hope found in scripture so that, by reason of years of practice, it becomes second nature to us? Are we taking the necessary (seemingly insignificant) mundane steps to steep ourselves in the encouragement of fellow believers? As Lewis notes, the consequences of these daily decisions have eternal consequences.