“Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.” -C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity-
I remember reading this quote somewhere, and writing it frantically in my journal. It seemed the perfect encapsulation of this idea that we must be seeking that which is eternal, rather than what is material. Since then, I have tried reading the book Mere Christianity three different times. The verdict? Boring. I don’t know where all those exciting, interesting quotes were found, but I could not get through the first one hundred pages.
I decided though, after reading another blogger’s post about the development of the Christian mind (see https://ethanrenoe.com/2017/12/06/the-dumbing-down-of-christianity/), that I should give it another try. Apparently all those other times I was reading it, I had just needed to get past the first few chapters.
Today, I finally found the above quote in Lewis’ chapter on Hope. I was surprised by what I read directly following it:
“Aim at Heaven and you will earth thrown in: aim at earth and you will get neither. It seems a strange rule, but something like it can be seen at work in other matters. Health is a great blessing, but the moment you make health one of your main, direct objects you start becoming a crank and imagining there is something wrong with you. You are only likely to get health provided you want other things more- food, games, work, fun. In the same way, we shall never save civilization as long as civilization is our main object. We must learn to want something else even more.” (Italics and emphasis mine)
Obviously, I don’t think I need to stop caring about my body, or that any of this is psychosomatic. All of us Chronic Illness People are not cranks, and we have to fight very hard sometimes to help people see that. Health is one of our main objectives because so much has been taken from us. Each of us remembers what it was like to be well, and wants very much to be that way again.
I have to ask myself why I want to be healthy in the first place, though. What’s my reason for fighting? Why am I working on this? What is the something more that I need to be wanting?
A lot of it comes back to me wanting to do these big, impressive things for God. It’s funny how I want so badly to impress the God of the universe. It’s as if I think that starting an orphanage, leading a bunch of people to the Lord, or being admired as a worship leader are going to impress the infinite Being who created the entire world. As if He’s going to say, “Wow, that’s amazing. How did you do that?”
Deeply rooted alongside this desire to prove myself to God is the other desire to prove myself to people. I want them to look at me and be impressed, to say, “Wow, you did that?” This is a part of my daily rituals, something I do without thinking. In the dark times, when my symptoms have seemed like something I could never defeat, I have often been angry with God because, “I haven’t done anything for You!” I am becoming what Lewis might term a “spiritual crank.” By making doing things for God my main object, I am completely missing the point of loving God and others more than myself. I have aimed at earth.
In Every Moment Holy by Douglas Kaine Mckelvey, there is a liturgy entitled For Those Who Have Not Done Great Things For God. In reading this prayer today I stumbled upon the following quote:
“Seek not your own glory. Seek God, and his glory will be seen in you, radiant in humility and in the strength of his might made manifest even in your brokenness, evident even in the smallest of services rendered unto him or offered in his name, even though they be seen by none but you and him; your reward is secure.”
Today, where you are in your health journey, I pray that you will think of your reward as being secure in Christ. Even the littlest thing can be sacred as we seek to find our something more in God.