I have a love/hate relationship with writing, preaching, piano playing, woodworking, cooking–many of the things I mostly love, but regularly find frustrating because they are difficult, and often put me face-to-face with my weaknesses, shortcomings, and failures.
There’s a similar dynamic with Bible reading, prayer, going to church. Why do these things that I love often have an uphill climb feeling about them? Why this inner resistance to things so true, good, and beautiful–things that are so difficult to start, often fraught with frustration and distraction, and yet, paradoxically, ridiculously rewarding?
Peter Kreeft says that Christianity’s twin teachings of Creation and Fall help explain this. We love God, and need Him as our Creator, as our Father. Yet we fear Him and hide from Him as His rebels.
Why do we feel such a reluctance to pray? Why does it seem as if we are constantly sliding down a slippery slope away from God, as if God were a glass mountain and we had oil on our hands and feet?
We know from endlessly repeated experience that whenever we place ourselves in his presence, the result is joy and peace, and whenever we flee it, the result is restless unhappiness, a muffled undertone of anxiety and guilt, shiftiness and evasion throughout the day. Yet despite this experimental proof, we run from prayer, from his presence, as from a plague. We give any excuse to avoid it.
God could not have created us in such a state.
Our innate need for God and our innate fear of God form a double datum that only Christianity explains, with its twin dogmas of Creation and Fall. We need God because he is our Father, and we fear him because we have made ourselves his enemies through sin.Peter Kreeft, Christianity, 156.