When Man Listens II by Cecil Rose for The Oxford Group
There is all the more reason to examine our car, since there is none other available. It is not only our type of religion which seems to have failed: education has not overcome the passions which make war, nor has it emptied the divorce courts. Statesmanship is baulked and helpless in a fear-ridden world that cannot outlive its memories. Industry and commerce have built up the marvelous and intricate mechanism of production and distribution, but they have not been able to make it proof against the grit that men are throwing so plentifully into the wheels. Science has provided us with amazingly varied means for the enrichment of life, but it has not given us happiness. Where is the alternative to another trial of the Christian solution?
Besides, the Christian solution is giving more signs of working than perhaps we thought. When an ex-communist and a Russian princess speak on the same platform of the answer that Christ has brought to their hatred, we may well ask how it happened, and whether it cannot happen again to others. When the wife of a Blue-shirt officer in Ireland discovers how to work for a new Ireland in friendship with a woman who wheeled her baby through Dublin streets in a perambulator half-full of Mills’ bombs, we begin to see a possible end to civil strife. When the home of two people, who were on the edge of divorce, becomes a centre of Christian action, we know that there is a real working answer to unhappy marriages. And when this same answer begins to work out, as it is doing to-day, in the lives of thousands of men and women, giving them release from all manner of personal problems, not only is it worthwhile, but it is imperative, that we should find out whether it can work on such a scale that it can remake a nation-and a world.
Perhaps we had the brakes on all the time, or perhaps we had allowed dirt to block the petrol-pipe.
If we are to try out the Christian life, we must understand what it is.
There is a widespread notion that a Christian is a man who tries to live up to certain ideals. That is to miss the most important fact about him. A Christian is not a man who is trying to do something. He fundamental need is for Him to be in charge. Our fundamental sin is that we have not allowed Him to be. We may have referred some of our difficulties and questions to Him. We may have accepted portions of His programme for us–selected according to taste-but we have not given Him complete command. The self-run life has been our trouble.
Peace, direction, power-the fullness of life await the complete surrender of ourselves to God for His purposes. This is the great experiment that is waiting to be made–giving God control.