I think it is possible that what is keeping you from belief in Christ’s Divinity is your apparently strong desire to believe. If you don’t think it true why do you _want_ to believe it? If you _do_ think it true, then you believe it already. So I would recommend less anxiety about the whole question. You believe in God and trust him. Well, you can trust Him about this. If you go on steadily praying and attempting to obey the best light He had given you, can you not rely on Him to guide you into any further truth He wishes you to know? Or even if He leaves you all your life in doubt, can’t you believe that He sees that to be the best state for you?
I don’t mean by this that you should cease to study and make enquiries: but that you should make them not with frantic desire but with cheerful curiosity and a humble readiness to accept whatever conclusions God may lead you to. (But always, all depends on the steady attempt to obey God all the time. ‘He who does the will of the Father shall know of the doctrine.’)…
I’m pretty sure where you’ll land, myself, and you will then wonder how you ever doubted it. But you needn’t keep looking over your shoulder too often. Keep you eye on the Helmsman, keep your conscience bright and your brain clear and believe that you are in good hands. (No one can make himself believe anything and the effort does harm. Nor make himself feel anything, and that effort also does harm. What is under our own control is action and intellectual inquiry. Stick to that.)
C.S. Lewis to Rhona Bodle, 31 Decenver 1947; cited in _Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C.S. Lewis_ (HarperOne, 2008), 125-126.
This advice to a seeker wondering about Christ’s divinity is a good example of why Lewis is always so sane.
He wisely points out what few in our age can readily accept–that they cannot control what seems compelling to them, and cannot control or dictate which emotions they have.
Emotions are not (almost by definition) rational or logical things. We also know that they can be ephemeral and unpredictable. Nonsense masquerading as pop wisdom, like “Listen to your heart!” or “Do what feels right!” can quickly mislead us. (We ought, of course, to consult our feelings or heart, but not give them a trump card, or listen to them exclusively.)
There are times when our feelings are quite frankly mistaken. That we are hurt or offended, for example, may in no way reflect the intent of the person who has offended us, or the nature of the thing that has hurt us. Too often, though, some treat their own–or others’–feelings as an infallible guide to the nature of an act or situation.
Lewis also knew that it was unwise to try to “force” or “create” an emotional state or even an intellectual one. Our minds and reason can fail us as easily as our emotions–especially because the one can impact the other.
Instead, Lewis wisely threads the needle–we can control only two things:
- our acts;
- the attitude in which we undertake them.
We might, then, undertake research or a quest in anger, rage, or pride. We might start with a (only half-admitted, even to ourselves) preconceived notion of what we would find. We might feel betrayed, and thus refuse to lay that lens aside. Or, we might seek humbly, sincerely, and with “real intent.” Only we–and God–know for sure.
Our acts show above all what we value. To what degree do we allow the emotion of the moment to influence them? Our acts will, most likely, determine what the ultimate conclusions and emotions will be–if only because they can so easily constrain the future possibilities available to us. Thus, said Lewis to another correspondent, “even genuinely religious emotion is only a servant. No soul is saved by having it or damned by lacking it. The love we are commanded to have for God and our neighbour is a state of the will, not of the affections (though if they ever also play their part so much the better)” (C.S. Lewis to Mrs. R.E. Halvorson, March 1956, Ibid, 287).