Faith v Fear by Eileen Padmore

 We live in strange times. A decade ago few people saw Brexit or the Pandemic coming. From the seventies, one or two (largely ignored) prophetic voices warned of an imminent radical 'shaking of the nations'. They were right. But prophecy is not so much predicting the future – more about discerning the particular times in which we live.

Most of us would admit to fear. I know many people who can no longer bear to watch the news. Media bias apart, world events are downright scary, and the Afghanistan debacle has brought terror closer to home.

It was in 1948 that CS Lewis addressed fear in his essay: 'On living in an atomic age'(1):

"We think a great deal too much of the atomic bomb. 'How are we to live in an atomic age?' I am tempted to reply: 'Why, as you would have lived in the 16th century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, Syphilis, paralysis, air raids, railway and motor accidents.'

In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented; and quite a high percentage of us are going to die in unpleasant ways ...... It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things – praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts – not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies (a microbe can do that) but they need not dominate our minds."

Words written a lifetime ago but so relevant now. His was a true prophetic voice, discerning the times and placing them in the God context. How badly we need writers with the courage to do this!

Lewis strips away our shrouds of complacency with his uncompromising yet comforting words. He tasks us to love and live faithfully through the ordinary transactions of everyday life. The Message describes this person as 'Someone the Master can drop in on unannounced and always find him doing his job.'(2)

(1) Harcourt, Present Concerns: essays by CS Lewis 1986

(2) Matthew 24:46

Eileen Padmore retired some time ago from health care and academia with a vow to indulge in writing more creatively and less academically. Her background in Africa, Eire, Norther Ireland (in the troubles) as well as inner city Birmingham and Leeds provides plenty of copy. she has had articles published by Woman Alive, Christian Writer and contributed to the popular ACW Lent book.

Eileen operates a dynamic prayer shawl ministry under the name of Tabitha. You can read all about it here:

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