Does God Live Under Your Bed?


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I read an autobiographical account by CS Lewis in college in which he recounted his journey from atheist to agnostic to Christian. The twists and turns of his journey were fascinating to me. I gained much insight into my own journey and how God works in the hearts of people who are inclined to follow the prompts.

His journey was like mine in some respects and much different in others. Just as I see how uniquely tailored and personal those prompts were for me, they were just as uniquely tailored for CS Lewis.

The God revealed in the Bible is a Person, and He is personal. He made us in His image. He made us to have relationship with Him. He relates to us as no one can. He knows our innermost being. I have found all these things to be true to my own experience.

After CS Lewis conceded the intellectual point that the universe was more likely created by a Causal Agent than not, he began to sort through the various possibilities for what that Causal Agent could be. Searching out the various world religions, he found that one stood out. One was not dependent on man’s own capacity to know or to understand. All other religions required special knowledge, understanding, and effort to achieve a connection with that Causal Agent.

He reasoned that a loving God who is just and fair would not foreclose a connection to those who are born without the intellectual capacity to understand or know what is required of them. Such a God would have to be accessible by all people, regardless of capacity. The complexities of religion did not seem appropriate to Lewis as he contemplated these things.

And then it dawned on him that only one religion was completely accessible to all people regardless of capacity. Jesus said all we have to do is believe. He also said that our main obstacle to gaining connection with God, the Father, is our own pride and self-control. What could be more antithetical to pride and self-control than humbly submitting to God in faith and trust?

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Faith, putting trust in God, is the ultimate antidote to the problems of pride, self-centeredness, selfishness, jealousy, anger, and all the issues that plague men. These are also the things that stand in our way of gaining connection with God by simple faith. They have to be put aside.

Jesus put it this way, “[M]any who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Matthew 19:30) Jesus sharply criticized the religious leaders of his day for “load[ing] people down with burdens they can hardly carry” (Luke 11:46); while the religious leaders practiced a pompous piety designed for people to see. (Matthew 23:5)

Although people who call themselves Christians often get this wrong themselves, we gain connection with God not by anything that we can do or anything that we can know or understand better than the next person. We gain connection with God by simple faith and trust. “[W]hoever believes has eternal life.” (John 3:15; see also Mark 16:16; John 1:12; 3:15; 5:24; 6:24; Acts 10:43; 13:39; Romans 10:9; Hebrews 4:3; and 1 Peter 1:9)

For CS Lewis, this was a key that began to unlock the mystery for his agnostic mind at that point. No other religion reveals a God who is as accessible to people of all capacities than the God who is revealed to us by Jesus Christ. Lewis recognized the pride in his own heart and knew well the power of it to disconnect himself from other people and from knowing God in a personal, intimate sense. The only antidote, he realized, is simple trust in God.

These are the things I think about as I read the following piece that was passed on to me by someone very close to me. It has the crystal clear ring of truth.

GOD LIVES UNDER THE BED

 I envy Kevin. 
My brother, Kevin,
thinks God lives under his bed.
At least, 
 that's what I heard him say one night. 
 
 He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, 
and I stopped to listen.
'Are you 
 there, God?', he said.
'Where are you?
Oh, I see. 
 Under the bed...'

I giggled softly 
and tiptoed off to my own room. 
Kevin's unique perspectives are often 
a source of amusement. 
But that night 
something else lingered long after the humor. 
I realized for the first time 
the very different world Kevin lives in.

He was born 30 years ago, 
mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. 
 Apart from his size (he's 6-foot-2), 
there are few ways in which he is an  adult.

He reasons and communicates with 
the capabilities of a 7-year-old, 
and he always will. 
He will probably always believe 
that God lives under his bed, 
that Santa Claus is the one 
who fills the space under our tree 
every Christmas 
and that airplanes stay up in the sky 
because angels carry them. 

 I remember wondering
if Kevin realizes he is different.
Is he ever dissatisfied 
with his monotonous life? 
 
 Up before dawn each day, 
off to work at a workshop for the disabled, 
home to walk our cocker spaniel, 
return to eat his favorite macaroni and-cheese for dinner, 
and later to bed.

 The only variation in the entire scheme 
is laundry, 
when he hovers excitedly 
over the washing machine 
like a mother with her newborn child. 
He does not seem dissatisfied.
 He lopes out to the bus 
every morning at 7:05, 
eager for a day of simple work
 
 He wrings his hands excitedly 
while the water boils on the stove 
before dinner,
and he stays up late twice a week 
to gather our dirty laundry 
for his next day's laundry chores. 

 And Saturdays –
Oh, the bliss of Saturdays!
That's the day my Dad takes Kevin 
to the airport to have a soft drink, 
watch the planes land, 
and speculate loudly 
on the destination of each passenger inside. 
'That one's goin' to Chi-car-go! '
Kevin shouts as he claps his hands.
His anticipation is so great 
he can hardly sleep on Friday nights. 
 And so goes his world of daily rituals 
 and weekend field trips. 
 
 He doesn't know what it means 
to be discontent..
His life is simple. 
 He will never know the entanglements 
of wealth or power, 
and he does not care what 
 brand of clothing he wears 
or what kind of food he eats.
His needs have always been met.
He never worries that one day 
they may not be. 
 His hands are diligent. 
Kevin is never happier 
than when he is working. 
When he unloads the dishwasher 
or vacuums the carpet, 
his heart is completely in it.

He does not shrink from a job
when it is begun and
he does not leave a job 
until it is finished. 
 When his tasks are done,

Kevin knows how to relax.
 He is not obsessed with his work 
 or the work of others. 
His heart is pure.

 He still believes everyone tells the truth, 
 promises must be kept
and when you are wrong, 
 you apologize instead of argue. 
 
 Free from pride 
and unconcerned with appearances, 
Kevin is not afraid to cry 
when he is hurt, angry or sorry. 
He is always transparent, 
always sincere. 
 And he trusts God. 
 
 Not confined by intellectual reasoning, 
 when he comes to God, 
he comes as a child.
Kevin seems to know God - 
 to really be friends with Him
 in a way that is difficult 
for an 'educated' person to grasp. 
God is his closest companion. 
 
 In my moments of doubt and frustrations, 
 I envy the security 
Kevin has in his simple faith. 
 It is then that I am most willing 
to admit that he has 
some divine knowledge 
that rises above 
my mortal questions. 
 
 It is then I realize 
that perhaps he is not
 the one with the handicap. 
I am.
My obligations, 
my fear, my pride, 
 my circumstances – 
they all become disabilities 
when I do not 
trust them to God's care. 
 
 Who knows if Kevin comprehends 
things I can never learn? 
After all, 
he has spent his whole life 
in that kind of innocence, 
 praying after dark 
and soaking up 
 the goodness and love of God. 
 
 And one day, 
when the mysteries of heaven 
are opened, 
and we are all amazed 
at how close God really is to our hearts,
 I'll realize that God heard 
the simple prayers 
of a boy who believed 
that God lived under his bed. 
 Kevin won't be surprised at all!
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