From today’s reading, what struck me with considerable force were these words from the opening of Psalm 62….
“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.”
This one verse raises certain questions for me. Can I really say, “For God alone my soul waits”? So often my soul waits for anything and anyone else but God.
Secondly, how often do I wait in silence? The honest answer is: not often. Just like being still is difficult, being silent, sitting in silence, is tough. It is easy enough where I live to sit in silence when I am alone in my own home. That is, it is relatively easy to find external silence. What is harder is to find internal silence, to still the incessant voices, the unceasing chatter, in my own brain. That takes time. It takes sitting for quite some time with external silence, with no distractions, until I become quiet within. In fact, this is a completely separate spiritual discipline, for me at least, from reading Scripture and praying. I have done it. However, I do not seek this sort of silence, this stillness, often enough. Perhaps that should be my goal for this week. To seek it at least once, then perhaps to eventually try to include it in my daily routine.
I found the words of C. S. Lewis, included in this section of the C. S. Lewis Bible, to be helpful to me today….
I have been in considerable trouble over the present danger of war. Twice in one life—and then to find how little I have grown in fortitude despite my conversion. It has done me a lot of good by making me realize how much of my happiness secretly depended on the tacit assumption of at least tolerable conditions for the body: and I see more clearly, I think, the necessity (if one may so put it) which God is under of allowing us to be afflicted—so few of us will really rest all on Him if He leaves us any other support. (from a letter to Dom Bede Griffiths OSB, April 29, 1938)
What I find encouraging is what Lewis says about how little he has grown. Oftentimes I feel like this in my spiritual life. It is good to know that spiritual giants like Lewis have felt this too. I identify with what he says about my happiness being based upon tolerable conditions for the body. Yes. Take this away, and I am fairly sure that I will be rather miserable all too quickly.
I do not like the solution to this spiritual problem that Lewis outlines here, namely, affliction. However, I can see why Lewis says it may be necessary. I too seldom really rest all on God if God leaves me any other way out. I suppose it just shows that I have a long way to grow, and that the process of spiritual growth will certainly not be complete with death. I find hope in Lewis’ idea that God will give us as many chances as necessary and helpful to allow us to grow, and that God will continue this process with us after death. As Browning says, “The best is yet to be.”