The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis– letter 21

More than ever before we are time poor. We are prepared to pay money in order to save time. Waiting is anathema! Moreover, we demand time for ourselves; to do our thing, to indulge our passions, to express our will, our way. In Chapter 21 Screwtape advises an attack on “the patient’s” desire for some ‘me’ time. We are challenged to answer the question of the ownership of our time– whose is it? Chapter 21 can be downloaded here:

Job, the ancient sage who lost everything– children, property, wealth, health and status– claimed that God owed him an answer. He demanded vindication and an explanation for his tragic circumstances. But God remained silent for 37 chapters. When he did finally speak to Job, God first established ownership. Our Creator is the one who ‘owns’ our time, our capabilities and our resources.

Job 38:1    Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:

2    “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? 3 Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. 4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. 5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? 6 On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone— 7 while the morning stars sang together and all the angels  shouted for joy?…

18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this. 19 “What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? 20 Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings? 21 Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years! 22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail, 23 which I reserve for times of trouble, for days of war and battle? 24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?

32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs? 33 Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth? 34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? 35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?

Job 40:1    The LORD said to Job: 2    “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?Let him who accuses God answer him!”

3    Then Job answered the LORD: 4 “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. 5 I spoke once, but I have no answer— twice, but I will say no more…”

Job 42:2    “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

Job 38-42