Peaks and Troughs

I am currently reading “Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis for the second time. The basis of this book is about an “Uncle Devil” exchanging letters to his nephew “devil in training”. Screwtape, the uncle, gives advice to his nephew on how to become a better devil and on what tactics to use to bring humans away from Christ.

One of my favorite quotes in the book is on page 38. It states “He[God] relies on the troughs even more than on the peaks; some of His[God’s] special favourites have gone through longer and deeper troughs than anyone else”…on page 40 it continues, “It is during such trough periods, much more than during the peak periods, that it[man] is growing into the sort of creature He[God] wants it[man] to be.”

This past year I have had the opportunity to work with an incredible 13 year old boy who has special needs and has many medical issues. When I first read those words, my mind immediately turned to my patient as well as his wonderful family, and all the trials and struggles they have been facing, not only this past year, but through his entire 13 years.

It has been an overwhelming and emotional experience being so closely connected with this family as they endure the troughs as well as experience the peaks as a family unit. I truly believe that this family is one of “His special favourites”. I am continually amazed at how this family keeps strong faith in God despite the deep troughs they have been through. They always look at the glass half full and keep a positive attitude.

I believe that each of us has our own individual troughs and peaks be they small or large. Some days we are on cloud nine and other days we struggle to make it out of bed in the morning. It is a normal human experience to have these ups and downs. Our Savior is there with us through the good times and the bad. He will never leave our side.

Have you been strengthened by someone you know who has been through a difficult trial? Can you recall a difficult experience you have been through, be it great or small? How do you keep faith and stay close to God when times are tough?

2 thoughts on “Peaks and Troughs

  1. FishieFishies

    I love The Screwtape Letters and try to re-read it every few years. This letter (#8, the Law of Undulation) changed my life. I didn’t always feel as close to God as I wanted to feel, and I just assumed in those cases that I had done something wrong–and an ongoing battle with clinical depression didn’t help. But then I read “He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles.” Suddenly I understood that God sees me as an infant who’s trying to learn to walk, and would I be angry if my child fell down when he or she had just gotten the hang of standing? Would I expect anything like perfection, and berate that child if he or she didn’t start running right away? Of course not. We really are children of God, in many more ways than one.

    I also love the conclusion of letter #8:

    Do not be deceived, Wormwood. [The devil’s] cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do [God’s] will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys. (emphasis mine)

  2. Tim

    Screwtape Letters is one of my favorites. I think C.S. Lewis is so clever in the ways he explains Satan’s tactics. Every time I read a chapter, it makes me think about the ways in which I’m being manipulated.


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