In the book The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis (the last book in the Narnia series) there is a great deception where an ape and a donkey attempt to pretend that they are Aslan. Many people are fooled. But there is a group of Dwarves who remain skeptical. Later in the story, the deception is revealed and the dwarves are confronted with the Real followers of the Real Aslan, but they refuse to believe them. They say that they aren’t going to be tricked again. Later, even when they are face to face with the real Aslan, they still won’t believe. Holding firm to their determination to not be “taken in” they can’t see the truth, even when it roars in their face.
I’ve always felt a bit of disdain for these dwarves. What was their problem? They were so determined to not be taken in by another deception, that they lost their ability to see the truth. In the book, there was no solution. There was no way to help these dwarves.
This morning I opened up my email, read through the various news outlet updates I get. New York Times had an article where they were trying to figure out how Qanon had become so influential. Now, I’m going to come right out and say that the New York Times is incapable of writing anything from any other perspective than Democrat and liberal. They just can’t do it. They are incapable. Just like Fox News is completely Republican and conservative. I like to glance through both just to see what the Democrats are believing these days and see what the Republicans are believing these days. I also enjoy a whole host of articles from Facebook that promote all kinds of theories and “conspiracy theories” and all kinds of ideas. Some of them are so badly written and full of blatantly erroneous material, that you know right away it’s just quackery. Others are more convincing.
This morning, I admit, I felt a bit like the dwarves from The Last Battle. This is all lies! No one is telling the truth! It is impossible to know what is true and false any more! Bah Humbug to all of you. I’m done. I’m done with social media. I’m done with the news. I’m just going to live my simple life here in my house with my family and forget about trying to stay up with what is happening in the bigger world around me. I’m done being “taken in”.
And it’s scary. Because I don’t think I’m the only one in this situation. Our culture is being bombarded with “News” and the news is saying exact opposite things depending on whether you read Liberal or Conservative, and in the end, we are all skeptical and don’t trust any of it. And if we do hold to one side or the other, we are accused of Drinking the Koolaide, and basically being idiots for being “taken in”.
Here’s the thing. I know the truth, and it’s not found in a news site. It’s found in the Bible. I can cling to God’s word. I can say, ok, the world is screwing me over, trying to trick me, but at least I know that This is True. This is a Solid Rock that I can cling to.
But what about those people that don’t know the Bible is true? They are being bombarded by so many lies, so many conflicting ideas. In the end, are they just going to scoff at the Bible as well? I’m not being “taken in” by those old myths! I think it’s a very real possibility. The more our culture twists and plays with “truth”, the more likely people are to not believe anything. And I don’t know how we can stop this from happening.
I have, on occasion, had conversations with my older children about truth. How can we really know that the Bible is true? In the end, after all my logical arguments and proofs, in the end, it comes down to me and my life and my experience. I can tell them, I have met Jesus. He talks to me. I have felt his presence. He has changed MY life. The word of God has comforted me, it has given me wisdom, it has given me direction, it has given me hope. I am who I am because of God and his word.
As we try and navigate these dangerous times where we can no longer rely on our leaders and news outlets to tell us the truth, I’m reminded of a story my parents told me as a child. A young man is apprenticed to a Goldsmith. He shows up to his first day of work. The goldsmith gives him a chunk of gold and tells him to sit in the corner and hold the gold in his hand. He is not given anything else to do. All day he just sits and holds the gold in his hands. The next day he is given the same task. This goes on for several weeks. Finally the young man has had enough. He walks into work and tells the Goldsmith, I want to learn how to work with gold! You aren’t teaching me anything! The Goldsmith looks at him, nods, and throws a chunk to him, Here, hold this gold. The young man catches the chunk in his hand then exclaims, Hey! This isn’t gold! And the Goldsmith smiles and says, Now you are ready to work with gold.
If we want to know the truth and be able to discern the truth, we are going to have to spend a lot of time in the truth, with the truth. Memorizing the truth. Meditating on the truth. And as far as convincing others, in the end all we can do is say, Look at my life. I am who I am because of God and his word.
I am feeling more and more the need to withdraw from the drama of this world and put my focus on God’s word. It’s the only truth I can be certain of.
Psalm 1: 1-2
Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.