From the Ranch

From the Ranch

Sunday, November 10, 2013

FOR BECKY AND BRIAN

If we live long enough we all face the grief and loss, the searing pain of a loved one leaving this world for their next existence, and it is indeed staggering enough to bring the strongest of us to our knees.  How powerful it is to be confident of a loved one's faith in God when they pass from this world to the next.  That eternal hope of being together again in heaven, in the presence of the Lord, bears the Christian through a dark place.

 C.S. Lewis is the famous author of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, which is a part of his children's collection, the Chronicles of Narnia.  He also was a famous atheist, profoundly wounded as a child, when at age nine his mother died.  Lewis had decided in the pain of his child's heart that God did not exist.  It is said that his friend and colleague, J.R. Tolkien, author of the Lord of the Rings, was an influence in his conversion.  Lewis told, in his autobiography, of his conversion, which happened as he rode in a motor cycle side car with a friend for a visit to a zoo, and pondered the wonders of our world.  I think very little stirs thoughts of the wonder of God more that the consideration of the creatures which he gifted our world with. C.S. Lewis filled his books with these creatures.

A theme of Lewis's life was the pursuit of "joy."  He longed before his conversion to understand and possess joy.  The following is a quote from Lewis on hoping for something more: 

"Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world.  There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise.

At present we are on the outside... the wrong side of the door.  We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure.  We cannot mingle with the pleasures we see.  But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so.  Someday, God willing, we shall get "in."  We will put on glory.... that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch.

We do not want to merely "see" beauty-though, God knows, even that is bounty enough.  We want something else which can hardly be put into words-to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it."  C.S. Lewis 

Paul spoke the thoughts of God's heart on love in 1st Corinthians 13  That longing, that God shaped void within us that can only can be filled by God's  love is the most powerful driving force in the Universe, for the definition for that longing inside us all is love. "God is love, " and the source of this, attainable by all,  forever thing, whose value exceeds all other things.  When we leave this world with our heart right before God, because of the gift of salvation, only available through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, we leave to bathe in those waters Lewis spoke of.

21st Century King James Version (KJ21)
1 Corinthians 13
 1.  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become as a    
      sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.
 2.  And thought I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and 
      though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
 3.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, 
      but have not love, it profiteth me nothing.
 4.  Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not, love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up;
 5.  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
 6.  Rejoiceth not in inquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
 7.  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
 8.  Love never faileth.  But whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues,
      they shall cease: whether ther be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
 9.  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when
      I became a man, I put away childish things.
12. For now we see through a glass , darkly, but the face to face.  Now I know in part, but then 
      shall I know even as I am known.
13. And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three, but the greatest of these is love.

You can read more of the life of C.S. Lewis, who from a non believer became one of the greatest theologians the world has known.  This is a good link, but nothing will tell you more than his own autobiography, Surprised by Joy.

 One of C.S. Lewis's quotes that I really love is from his book, A Grief Observed.  Lewis knew well the song of grief in his life.  He speaks of the testamentary that each of our lives is before the Universe concerning love, the kind the world refers so often to, which is a cheap fake, and of that soul searing kind that makes us what God designed us to be.  The thing about love is, it is so much more discernible under great adversity.


"God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality.  He knew it already.  It is I who didn't.  In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once.  He always knew that my temple was a house of cards.  His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down."

C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed