Thursday, September 23, 2010

C.S. Lewis and Crisis

C.S. Lewis writing something cool

Somehow this paragraph from C.S. Lewis, with its winsome style and penetrating insight, summarizes the power of his work. This twentieth-century Christian mentor and Oxford intellectual (1898-1963)—who lived through the two World Wars, the intervening worldwide Great Depression, and later the death of his wife to cancer—describes beautifully how he resolved the crises that beset human life in general and his life in particular, where he found incredible points of “joy, pleasure, and merriment” in the midst of pain, and why the ultimate resolution lies ahead of this life.
The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world; but joy, pleasure, and merriment, He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasure inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.

What do you think? Does this insight from C.S. Lewis help you understand better why there's both happiness and pain in life? Why there's hope for something better beyond this life?

2 comments:

Steven said...

I would have to argue with the estimable Mr. Lewis on one point here..."but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy." and would say that we have some fun and not plenty of it. Mr. Lewis had a world view that was narrow when compared to the one we have today. Some people in Somalia and Central America, to name just a few places, might take exception to the word 'plenty'.

GCootsona said...

Fair enough--there are lives in this world that are dominated by suffering. Amazingly (at least amazing to me) they can also experience profound joy. In Lewis's defense, he also lived through two World Wars. He fought and was wounded in the first. So, although his existence was defined by the world of Oxford intellectualism, he did know suffering first hand.
How about we just remove the "plenty of" as friendly amendment?