When I was a young Christian a friend told me to read CS Lewis. I had never heard of him. But I usually did whatever this very persuasive friend told me to, and ended up devouring most of Lewis’ works. I was astonished that a Christian writer could be so creative and thoughtful and deep and insightful and accessible all at the same time.
One of the themes Lewis was good at articulating was the highly personal sense we all have of longing for another world. He said, “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.”
Hmmm. Well said.
I was shocked that someone knew and could describe that longing.
Lewis also said, “In a sense the central story of my life is… that of an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction. I call it Joy, which must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and Pleasure. Joy has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again. I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever exchange it for all the pleasures in the world.”
Lewis discovered a personal relationship with Jesus when he was in his early 30’s, and he described his spiritual journey in his book Surprised by Joy.
Some people express joy by dancing or singing, others through art or friendships or work. Some use words, some don’t. In a sense, Lewis spent the rest of his life using his literary talents to express the passionate joy he found in knowing God, and trying to help others to find Him as well. He used so many different avenues to reach as many different types of people as possible - The Problem of Pain, Mere Christianity, children’s books (the Narnia Chronicles), science fiction (the Perelandra trilogy), The Great Divorce).
Lewis found a satisfaction for his longing and the source of his joy in Jesus and encouraged us to do the same: “If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire: if you want to be wet you must get into the water. If you want joy, power, peace, eternal life, you must get close to the thing that has them.”