“Ah, the Saved…what happens to them is best described as the opposite of a mirage. What seemed, when they entered it, to be the vale of misery turns out, when they look back, to have been a well; and where present experience saw only salt deserts, memory truthfully records that the pools were full of water.”– C.S Lewis, The Great Divorce, 70.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”- Romans 8:28.
Yesterday’s post was heavy. So i thought something refreshing from The Great Divorce should be on the docket for today. In desert terms, we see yesterday’s concept of the futile nature of sin as a deadly mirage. When we pour our energy into finding our worth and value, our happiness and identity, our worship and praise into things smaller than God, when we arrive at them after much toil and struggle, we find only sand and draught as a weary traveler who arrives at a mirage, the illusion of promised shelter and refreshment, finds only dust and despair. For the believer’s sufferings, however, Lewis gives us light. As Christians we encounter in the successive moments of our lives various sufferings and trials. We commit sin, and sin is committed against us. And yet we have such a rich promise from Romans 8. We can be confident that God is so weaving and orchestrating the events of our lives together that we shall arrive, by the road of suffering and sin, at the most beautiful Oasis. And not only that, but we will come to see the sufferings of our lives as moments where God was truly refreshing us. Though in the present journey we are often overwhelmed and weighted down, though we experience intense pain and uncertainty, when we reach our destination, we will find that what promised death to us and what caused us pain has given way to rest and glory and has actually served to nourish us. We know this, in a measure, here. Often after intense, trying times in our lives, we often look back and realize that God was truly teaching us, truly watering us. But let’s just wait, because there is a reality coming that we have never fully taken in.
A mirage, in short, is an illusion. It is something that appears real but has no substance. The Christian finds the opposite is true for them. Often times in this life Christ seems like the most illusory item ever. He seems too good to be true. Everlasting life, ultimate satisfaction, adoption into God’s family, unity with Christ, and all other benefits really do seem at times, in the midst of suffering, to be illusions. And yet for those who persevere, we will find the opposite of a mirage. We will find Truth and Substance. We will find that all we have hoped in for so long has all been substantially true.