Sunday, January 29, 2012

Control Freak

Therefore do not worry, saying "What will we eat?" or "What will we drink?" or "What will we wear?" For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:31-34)

C.S. Lewis is well-known for the Narnia series and for his writings on Christianity, but he's not always remembered for his foray into science fiction in the form of the so-called "Space Trilogy" (Although I use the term "science fiction" loosely – the books do describe a series of journeys to other planets and meetings with alien races, but there is far more fiction than science. In fact, like the Narnia books, they are a thinly-disguised set of treatises on Christian themes). 

When I read Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength, it was the second book that made the biggest impression on me. In it, the protagonist travels to Venus, which is known as Perelandra to its inhabitants. There he finds an oceanic world of floating islands and one green-skinned female humanoid creature, a type of Eve who has been separated from, and spends most of her time searching for, her Adam. 

In the midst of the floating islands is one piece of land that always stays put. The Venusians are allowed to visit it, but they must never spend the night on it – most of their time is to be spent on the floating islands, at the mercy of the wind and waves. At first, the woman tells the Earthman, she thought that the prohibition from dwelling on the fixed island was ridiculous, but eventually she has come to understand it: being on the fixed land made her life less uncertain and caused her to rely less on the protection of Maleldil (her name for God).

"It was to reject the wave – to draw my hands out of Maleldil's, to say to Him, 'Not thus, but thus' – to put in our power what times should roll towards us…as if you gathered fruits together today for tomorrow's eating instead of taking what came. That would have been cold love and feeble trust. And out of it how could we ever have climbed back into love and trust again?"

It's not that I don't trust God, but it's so hard sometimes to relinquish control of my life (or the illusion of control, anyway). I'm not a control freak most of the time, but I do like to be independent and to take care of myself. I wonder if this need I feel for self-reliance is the reason I find myself in my current circumstances – unemployed and dependent on my family for support. I resolve, now and in the future when I'm back on my feet, to accept God's provision and take what comes, secure in the knowledge that I will get what I need.

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