We noted in the previous post that The Screwtape Letters were written in England during the Second World War, and yet, for many of us, the reality of war is not something we have personally encountered. We might imagine ourselves in time of war, projecting our fears or hatred or fantasies onto an otherwise unknown future. We might wonder how God will protect us, or stay our fears, or meet our needs, or work within our hearts in the midst of such a challenge. But we have no personal experience.
So how might the fear of personal experience in war impact our faith? Are there unique temptations which we may need to address in that situation? Screwtape’s advice to Wormwood may provide some insights into such challenges.
If you’ve not yet purchased your own copy of the book, you can download Chapter 6 here.
This chapter leads us to think about our readiness to trust God in times of trial. Although we can never fully prepare ourself, but rather can only truly ‘take heart’ when the threat is real; let’s consider our readiness to honestly and unself-consciously walk with God in the moment of challenge. How might we actively entrust our security, our relationships, and our life of discipleship to our Sovereign Lord– even when we are afraid?
These words from scripture provide us with food for thought:
13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.1 Peter 3:13-17
1 I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. 2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him. 4 Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.Psalm 40:1-4