Neutral Ground 

  “There is no neutral ground in the universe. Every square inch, every split second is claimed by God, and counterclaimed by Satan.” C.S. Lewis, @CSLewisDaily 

Wow. Just contemplate this statement for a minute. In case you don’t know C.S. Lewis, he was a committed atheist for years before he surrendered to God:

“You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen  [College, Oxford], night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.” (Source: Wikipedia.org)

Lewis was a scholar and a prolific writer, who took his Christianity seriously and wrote in such a way as to introduce a Living God to unbelievers and believers alike. I think most everyone is familiar with his Narnia series, and it is a wonderful, imaginative and fanciful way to show the principles of Christianity to those who wouldn’t see them, otherwise.  J.R.R. Tolkien did the same thing with his Lord of the Rings books. If you are unfamiliar with the writings of either of these men, I would highly recommend them! This scripture from the Psalms seems to reflect on them: 

  “Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing Your instructions. Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me Life through Your Word.” – Psalms 119:29‭, ‬37 NLT

I realize that fantasy doesn’t appeal to everyone, so rest assured that both authors wrote many other books on Christianity and our relationship with Christ. 

Looking at the term “neutral ground,” I consider the route I traveled the past couple of days, driving from Tucson AZ, back to the Oklahoma City area. Coming up out of Tucson, we (me and the pups) took the scenic route through the Santa Catalina mountains, then on through the Salt River Canyon. One word describes it for me: Breathtaking! Our Creator God took the desert and decorated it with dozens (hundreds?) of species of cacti and grasses and trees in fantastic shapes and colors you won’t see anywhere else in the world. The monsoons began while I was in Tucson, so everything was brilliant shades of green. The trip through the canyon is awesome. Yes, it is a steep grade (mostly 8%) and switchbacks, and if you have never experienced anything like it, well, you should! At the rest stop at the bottom of the canyon, you can walk across the old bridge and watch as the river roars through, and literally crane your neck backward in order to see the top of the canyon on either side. How can anyone stand there and NOT see the Hand of God? At the same time as I am worshipping my God,  I have to stop and think about the statement by Lewis. “…. Every square inch is claimed by God, and counterclaimed by Satan.” God created an incredible, breathtakingly beautiful earth, and Satan turns it around and tries to corrupt it. The canyon is gorgeous  – and treacherous. The desert is the same, full of fantastic plants and animals – which the enemy has crammed with dangerous reptiles and plants which can cause serious damage. It’s like a glimpse of heaven and hell smashed together. 

Coming out of the canyon, you’ll see a completely different kind of desert, then through pines and firs as the road continues into the White Mountains. I love this route in large part because of its contrasts. When you leave the White Mountains and come out into red rock Painted Desert country, there is a whole new world of contrasts. Towering bluffs and mesa after mesa … red rocks and colors stacked on top of each other.  It’s Tony Hillerman and Louie L’Amour country, and it is all beautiful. Anyone who thinks anything called “desert” is drab and colorless hasn’t really looked! Driving east on the interstate goes through so many types of country it would take volumes to describe it all. None of it is neutral ground. Throughput my entire trip, the struggle of the enemy against the Creator is so obvious. I see the beauty God and poured out for us, and I see how hard Satan is striving to make it ugly. For myself, I refuse to let the enemy ruin any of it for me. 

It all comes down to choice. Do we allow the enemy to come into our lives and spoil them, or do we choose God? It will NEVER be easy when you choose God, because the enemy will just concentrate harder on making life miserable. Finding JOY in the pain and the ugly is only possible through God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I choose the ground, every square inch, and every split second, claimed by God!

(All scriptures quoted are from http://bible.com/116/NLT)

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