C. S. Lewis: No More Pain

In July 1963, C. S. Lewis fell into a coma, and everyone thought that was the end for him. Yet he surprised the medical staff by sitting up and asking for tea. He did die four months later, but shortly after coming out of the coma, he wrote these poignant words to a longtime friend and correspondent:

Tho’ I am by no mean unhappy I can’t help feeling it was rather a pity I did revive in July. I mean, having been glided so painlessly up to the Gate it seems hard to have it shut in one’s face and know that the whole process must some day be gone thro’ again, and perhaps far less pleasantly! Poor Lazarus! But God knows best.

I think I can say I don’t fear death itself. My faith informs me of what awaits, and it will be glorious. But I share with most fellow mortals the anxiety, to some extent, of the steps leading to the glory. How much pain will there be? Will I retain my senses? So I can empathize with Lewis’s comments. I always want to have foremost in my thoughts that, as Paul said, to be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord. That will be the ultimate reality that makes all pain fade away. There will be no more pain, no more tears. We will be in the presence of the One who is the essence of love.

C. S. Lewis: Death Conquered

Death is bad, but death is also good. How can this be? Read what C. S. Lewis has to say about it:

On the one hand Death is the triumph of Satan, the punishment of the Fall, and the last enemy. Christ shed tears at the grave of Lazarus and sweated blood in Gethsemane: the Life of Lives that was in Him detested this penal obscenity not less than we do, but more.

On the other hand, only he who loses his life will save it. We are baptized into the death of Christ, and it is the remedy for the Fall. Death is, in fact, what some modern people call “ambivalent.” It is Satan’s great weapon and also God’s great weapon: it is holy and unholy; our supreme disgrace and our only hope; the thing Christ came to conquer and the means by which He conquered.

C. S. Lewis: Why Only One Chance?

Some people may critique what the Bible says about having only this one life to get things right with God. Isn’t it rather drastic that if we blow it this time around and end up separated from God that we don’t get to try again? Why not multiple opportunities? C. S. Lewis has a rather unique way of explaining the justice of it all:

[Some say] that death ought not to be final, that there ought to be a second chance. I believe that if a million chances were likely to do good, they would be given. But a master often knows, when boys and parents do not, that it is really useless to send a boy in for a certain examination again. Finality must come sometime, and it does not require a very robust faith to believe that omniscience knows when.