The Law of Undulation (Ros' Blog)
In his celebrated book The Screwtape Letters, C. S. Lewis imagines an experienced devil writing to his young nephew Wormwood on how best to tempt someone away from God. It gives a rich insight into the enemy’s traps for which we, as Christians, need to be on the alert.
At one point Screwtape writes, “Has no one ever told you about the Law of Undulation?” He goes on to explain that, as creatures who are both spiritual and physical, humans are subject, in every area of life, to a fluctuation of enthusiasm and passion, and the spiritual realm is no different. He advises Wormwood, “The dryness and dullness through which your patient is now going are not, as you fondly suppose, your workmanship; they are merely a natural phenomenon which will do us no good unless you make a good use of it.” I’m sure all of us can identify with this. There are times when Jesus is the central focus of our thoughts and affections and times when we find ourselves drifting away from Him and unsure of how to return to our first love. Part of the problem lies in our forgetting the nature of God.
I know that if one of my children exhibited selfishness towards me, neglected to communicate with me and ignored my attempts to reach out to them, and then came to me for help when they were in trouble, my response would not be to say, “Well now you need something you’re happy to get in touch, aren’t you? What about all those weeks that you’ve ignored me?” Of course not. I would give them what they ask and be relieved and delighted that the relationship was restored.
God is a far more loving, forgiving and selfless parent than I am. So why do we forget that when we return to Him, no matter what is in the past, His response is not to scold us for our “undulation” but to welcome us with joy and unreserved affection?
One of the truly joyful and liberating things about being in relationship with Christ is that no disability can limit or disqualify you. Everyone has equal potential for growing in closeness and unity with Him, and being a worshipper who delights the heart of the Father. Like Mary of Bethany, all of us can open our most priceless treasure of love and worship and pour its fragrance all over Him. As I was thinking of this on my way into work this morning, the words of a Graham Kendrick song which I hadn’t sung for years came into my head. May this be the prayer of all our hearts:
To keep Your lovely face
Ever before my eyes,
This is my prayer,
Make it my strong desire;
That in my secret heart
No other love competes,
No rival throne survives,
And I serve only You.