"Man approaches God most nearly when he is in one sense least like God. For what can be more unlike than fullness and need, sovereignty and humility, righteousness and penitence, limitless power and a cry for help? This paradox staggered me when I first ran into it..." -C.S.Lewis, *The Four Loves*
Me, too, Lewis. Me, too.
Firstly, I would like to say that if you have not read this book, you must go out and purchase it immediately, clear your afternoon, and consume its contents as fast as possible. I pulled this jewel from the Introduction! C.S.Lewis is arguably one of the greatest religious authors of all time.
This quote recalls to my mind Matthew 19:14
"Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come to me: for the kingdom of heaven is for such." (DRV)
Lewis strikes at the heart of our relationship with God. It is as little children that we approach Him; small, meek, humble, and needy. And He receives us as a Father; strong, guiding, providing for us in our weakness. Were we to be anything other than the opposite of these attributes that are God's, our relationship would not be that which it is. In fact, it would not be at all. God is God precisely because He is a Father. If we were anything other than children, we would be gods. If we thought we were anything other than children, we would make ourselves gods.
In fact, not only are we opposites of God in this sense, but we are a lack. We are needy because we lack what is necessary to be full. We are penitent because we lacked the righteousness necessary to prevent ourselves from falling. We cry for help because we have no means to help ourselves. We are not simply opposite; we are nothing. And it is in the realization of our nothingness that we approach God to become Something in Him, to become one with Him. It is only by emptying ourselves that God can fill us with His Grace.
Of course, I didn't come up with that last bit. That's all Chesterton:
"It is the root of all religion that a man knows that he is nothing in order to thank God that he is something."
Great minds think alike.
Lewis says that this realization "staggered" him. I would argue that one must stagger before they can realize it. Only when we are brought to our knees and forcibly reminded that we cannot depend on ourselves or our fellow human beings, can we truly realize our nothingness, and so approach Our Father as children.