Screwtape Letters

ScrewtapeImage by duopastorale via Flickr

The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life."..."Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.
Job 2:6 Luke 22:31

Recently, I went on a short retreat to St Cuthman’s Retreat House, a place I have been to before in the Sussex countryside, a place of quiet and rest, and also good food! I had taken one or two books with me to read but as I browsed in the library, my eyes fell on The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis, and I thought ‘Yes!’ This well-known classic is written in the form of letters from a senior devil (Screwtape) to a junior one (Wormwood). Screwtape gives advice on the best methods of temptation, discouragement and generally trying to get the ‘patient’ off course. It is a work of pure genius, exposing the possible nature of satan’s methods to undermine us, and also reveals our human sin and inconsistencies which satan can take full advantage of. If you have only one book on the subject of spiritual warfare, this must be the one!

Reading the book again made me think about the nature of temptation and trial that we all go through. In the Scriptures above, we see that satan must ask before he can assail us. God has complete control over the enemy’s dealings with us. He will allow no more than He knows we can cope with (1 Cor. 10:13). It is a testament to the character of Job that God allowed such terrible trials in his life.

God does indeed give us power over satan (Luke 10:19), but there are times and seasons when we may have to undergo sustained attack from the enemy of our souls. But there is great comfort to be drawn here. Can you even begin to imagine satan standing in the Presence of God and asking permission to attack you? And yet it has most certainly happened. Satan believes that you and I are worth attacking! We are a threat to him, a much greater threat than he is to us! (1 John 4:4) And there is also comfort in the fact that God allows it, for we know that He is good, and His love endures forever, and all things work together for good for us because we love Him. (Romans 8:28). He has promised to be with us through fire and water (Isa. 43) and like Job, we will emerge refined and shining like gold, knowing His blessing more than ever before.

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Jenny said…
Thanks for the reminder. It was both timely and reassuring.
willow said…
Lovely devotional blog you have here!
Pietro said…
Reading this nice post I remember the words of Dostoevskij: "Penso che se il diavolo non esiste, ma l'ha creato l'uomo, l'ha creato a sua immagine e somiglianza".
GrandmaK said…
A most enlightening offering. Thank you! It is, indeed, comforting to know that God in his love as father is allowing me to be strengthen in my temptation so that I might more fully appreciate his sustenance and LOVE. Cathy
Mike said…
Thanks Pietro. According to Google Translate;

I think that if the devil does not exist, but has created man, he created in his image and likeness.
Gramma L said…
It's always comforting to be reassured and reminded that God is in control no matter what we may be experiencing in our lives. And he never puts more on us than we can handle.
I have read Screwtape Letters several times and always am amazed at the wisdom and insight in it. Great reminder today of why we sometimes suffer. Another great book I'd like to recommend to you is The SPLENDOR of His Ways - Seeing the Lord's End in Job by Stephen Kaung. It is a very different take on the story of Job.
Pietro said…
Mike, if "has created man" means "(the devil) was created by man", Google made a good translation.
Thanks for your kind comments, always much appreciated, on my blog.
ChrisJ said…
I've been thinking about temptation this week. It seems that just as you think you know what your own temptations and weaknesses are and have decided to watch out for them, Satan jumps in and attacks us where we least expect it; usually in the place we think we're least likely to be tempted!
Gudl said…
Good one!
I also like the photo a lot!
Gudl said…
PS - I just ordered the book!