Temptation. I have to imagine Jesus knew what a fact of life it is, because he taught us to pray daily for ourselves in this respect: “Give us this day our daily bread, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Some versions of this prayer read, “Save us from the time of trial.”
We can be tempted by all sorts of things. Trials can come when we have given ourselves over to temptation just enough that what was once just an unhealthy thought becomes inscribed in our thought patterns and behaviors, causing pain to ourselves and sometimes others.
I’ve been here before. Maybe you have, too. It’s a hard, painful place to be, and it is easy to despair when we’re there that we’ll never get out of the rut or break free.
Enter this quote from C.S. Lewis, thanks to friend and fellow saint and sinner Tammy: “I know all about the despair of overcoming chronic temptations. It is not serious provided self-offended petulance, annoyance at breaking records, impatience et cetera doesn’t get the upper hand. No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and the clean clothes are in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one’s temper and give it up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present to us: it is the very sign of his presence.”
Some of us kids fall more than others- or at least are apt to notice more than others when we skin our knees or stub our toes. We can tend to obsess about the dirt, tears, mud and boo boos. Thankfully, as Lewis reminds me, God has plenty of clean towels and new clothes- and a great First Aid kit.