C.S. Lewis never ceases to inspire me. On our trip home from parent's weekend, we listened to two of his books: The Great Divorce and The Abolition of Man. I've read both before, but I get more out of each reading.
Lewis captures incredible insights in the most concise and unique ways. More than any other writer (outside of Biblical writers), he has impressed upon my mind that this process of being made into the image of Christ is not passive acceptance. Rather, it is active, aggressive, ripping away of layers we habitually form about ourselves. It is a completely different path than we naturally pursue. We must give up what we think we want and trust that God alone knows what will truly fulfill us--seeking His wisdom--His very definition of fulfillment.
"Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither," Lewis writes.
"God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing."
"If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair." 1.
I recently saw a quote posted by an old acquaintance. The essence (my paraphrase) was, someday when I find the right person, I'll know why every other person couldn't fulfill my desires. I read the quote, and, for a stunned moment, sat in silent amazement at the blindness of the writer; my heart still aches for him. I am convinced that he will spend the rest of his life (unless he admits the error of his way and commits to the path of truth) trying one relationship after another, discarding what he doesn't devour, ending up in desolate despair. Adding to my sorrow for him, I observe him trying to drown his incessant emptiness with alcohol and entertainment, the path so often repeated in the sad tale of human experience.
C.S. Lewis tells us, and of course, the Bible--Lewis's greatest source book--admonishes us, the arm of flesh will fail. Death is at the end of pursuing our natural desires.
I started out on that path (pursuing my natural desires) like everyone else, and I am absolutely convinced it is not the path to stay on! I pray for all who are still trudging along. May they see, as C.S. Lewis succinctly puts it,
"To love you as I should, I must worship God as Creator. When I have learnt to love God better than my earthly dearest, I shall love my earthly dearest better than I do now. In so far as I learn to love my earthly dearest at the expense of God and instead of God, I shall be moving towards the state in which I shall not love my earthly dearest at all. When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.”
May we all choose a life lived in pursuit of the will of God, learning to truly love Him; and may we share in the pure fulfillment that follows this decision!
1. All direct quotes from C.S. Lewis