The temptation of disbelief is never as strong as it is after a time—a substantial time—of panic attacks and/or hallucinations stemming from past trauma. The temptation to think YHWH isn’t there is never as strong as it is during a season of repeated sin; to think “maybe this is the final straw that will make Jehovah-Shamma (The Lord is There) come to His senses and abandon me and leave me to my sin—despite the requests for forgiveness, in spite of the repeated pleas of repentance.”
…And yet, Holy Spirit—bless’d Counselor!—reminds me of C. S. Lewis, of The Screwtape Letters. In his 4th Letter, the elder demon, Screwtape, writes to his nephew the following instructions for the human he’s assigned to:
“…Keep them watching their own minds and trying to produce feelings there by the action of their own wills. When they meant to ask Him for charity, let them, instead start trying to manufacture charitable feelings for themselves and not notice that this is what they are doing… When they say they are praying for forgiveness, let them be trying to feel forgiven. Teach them to estimate the value of each prayer by their success in producing the desired feeling; and never let them suspect how much success or failure of that kind depends on whether they are well or ill, fresh or tired, at the moment.”Lewis, The Screwtape Letters, pgs. 16-17 (emphasis mine)
My immediate response (via my Kindle note) when I first read this was: “I am guilty of this! Father help me, teach me to pray! The forgiveness of my sins is SOLELY on Jesus, because of HIS sacrifice—not by me trying to produce in myself feelings of forgiveness after praying for such. O, you of little faith. Trust in Adonai, in the finished work of Yeshua, and settle your heart and mind on this: your salvation has naught to do with you, or whatever feelings you produce or fail to produce, when you’re tired, sad, or scared.”
To that, I’d like to add this prayer:
I know that my sin has been paid for with the blood of the innocent Lamb, and my debt erased. Help me live as a forgiven child of the Most High, Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord is my Righteousness).
In Jesus’s name I pray,