God Is More Than Emergency Cover — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

God Is More Than Emergency Cover — Morning Devotions

If we make God our king, best friend, and counsellor, every struggle that we overcome brings us so much closer to him. God wants us to be dependent on him.

Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.

By Chris WittsWednesday 19 Aug 2020Morning Devotions with Chris WittsDevotionsReading Time: 4 minutes

C.S. Lewis was one of the most notable 20th century scholars and theologians. He wrote a popular book called The Problem of Pain.

Lewis knew something about anguish and pain—he lost his mother at a young age and was raised in a number of boarding schools throughout Europe. Later in life he fell in love with a lady called Joy and they married. But she died not long after, leaving him devastated and alone.

One of his memorable quotes was this one: “We regard God as an airman regards his parachute. It’s there for emergencies but he hopes he’ll never have to use it.” Does that mean that most people are content enough in life not to bother with God? You hear them say, Don’t give me that God stuff. I don’t want to bother with that nonsense. God is not a parachute. We don’t have a ripcord to pull and out pops this God from a neatly packed backpack, just to help in a temporary crisis.

Why should we trust God anyway? Maybe you say to me, I prefer to look after myself and my own business. The big challenge that C.S. Lewis puts forward is about our definition of ‘belief’. Most people believe in the theory or the theology of God. Surveys have shown us that most are agnostic about God rather than atheistic. But at the same time, they work very hard to make sure that they never actually have to trust God. Jesus says that God will provide for everything that we need, and yet we make sure that we always have everything that we need so that we never have to worry about trusting him.

Human Longing for God

Surveys taken in the UK show that many people still pray to God. Among the non-religious, personal crisis or tragedy is the most common reason for praying, with one in four saying they pray to gain comfort or feel less lonely.

For example, Henry, 64, said he prays every night, kneeling by his bed, despite not being religious: “I worry about it quite a lot—is it some kind of an insurance policy, is it superstition or is it something more real?” Asked if he believed in God, he said: “I don’t know but I would describe myself at the sceptical end of agnosticism. I certainly wouldn’t classify myself as religious.”

Henry starts by silently reciting the Lord’s Prayer and then asks for his loved ones to be kept safe and well: “Sometimes I include other specific people or suffering groups. Then I have a fuzzy moment about me—not concrete thoughts, and I don’t ask for specific things.” He said he had no idea if God heard his prayers, and said the act of praying did not make him feel better. “I wonder why I don’t stop doing it. Sometimes I feel it’s a kind of hypocrisy.”

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Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester, said: “We should not be surprised by these recent findings, which reflect human longing for the mystery and love of God.”

So it seems many people are driven to pray at some point in their lives, even if they are not religious. Praying spontaneously is about reaching out. God hears everyone’s prayers. Jesus spends a lot of time in the Gospels telling us to relate to God as a Father and to see ourselves as children, trusting him at every moment to provide us with what we need. God wants us to be dependent on him, not only in our physical needs, but also our spiritual and emotional needs.

We Can Trust God

At some point we need to take the risk and begin to trust that he will be faithful to his promises. As Ernest Hemingway once said, “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” C.S. Lewis continues:

Now God, who has made us, knows what we are and that our happiness lies in Him. Yet we will not seek it in Him as long as He leaves us any other resort where it can even plausibly be looked for. A truly satisfied life is only found in God.

God is not a parachute to be used in an emergency. Do you have all you want? If all we want doesn’t include God it will never be enough. It’s like having an emergency parachute but not the ability to truly catch your breath and find peace. Do you want to live life with purpose and determination? Allow Jesus Christ into your life and he will do something quite dramatic and lasting in your life.

We treat God like a security guard by keeping him right outside in case something goes far too wrong. But until then God is outside waiting for us to realise that we need him. Until then he is waiting to hear us call his name. When we do get in over our heads, we keep close to him, afraid to go too far because something might happen again. But when nothing happens for a while, we push him away.

Let’s remember that every struggle that we overcome brings us so much closer to God—if we can tame our pride and make God not only our emergency contact, but first and foremost our king, best friend, and counsellor. You were created by God on purpose. That means you are incredibly valuable. You have purpose and meaning. King David told us:

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
    and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
   Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. (Psalm 139:13-14 – NLT)