C.S. Lewis and Christian Hope in Crisis

C.S. Lewis photo credit: https://www.narniaweb.com/

Here at ALCS, we are all about integrating faith and mental health, grounding our counseling practice in psychological theory and research and also in biblical truth. We bring these worlds together in a coherent way that helps us support you on your unique road to healing and thriving. We love this reflection from Hannah Pitman, MA, LPC that offers a spiritual perspective on purpose and hope in these times, based on the words of C.S. Lewis and how they apply to our lives through the current COVID-19 pandemic.
As our COVID-19 situation continues to extend without a firm closure date, it has many of us on edge. I’ve been reading C.S. Lewis’ The Weight of Glory, an amazing book of essays that he wrote back in 1949. It’s amazing how truth spans time and space and still applies now. Lewis lived through World War I & II, and one of his essays is about the way that war affects people. While we are not in a war right now, we are certainly being reminded of our mortality. So many years later, Lewis’ words are relevant to our current situation, especially this section, my favorite part:

"Yet war does do something to death. It forces us to remember it. The only reason why the cancer at sixty or the paralysis at seventy-five do not bother us is that we forget them. War makes death real to us, and that would have been regarded as one of its blessings by most of the great Christians of the past. They thought it good for us to be always aware of our mortality. I am inclined to think they were right. All the animal life in us, all schemes of happiness that centred in this world, were always doomed to a final frustration. In ordinary times only a wise man can realise it. Now the stupidest of us knows. We see unmistakably the sort of universe in which we have all along been living, and must come to terms with it. If we had foolish un-Christian hopes about human culture, they are now shattered. If we thought we were building up a heaven on earth, if we looked for something that would turn the present world from a place of pilgrimage into a permanent city satisfying the soul of man, we are disillusioned, and not a moment too soon." 

Purpose and Hope
As I re-read this quote over and over, I am reminded of purpose. As Christians, everything we do has a purpose. A few months ago, we went to work and shared the love of Christ with our co-workers; we were, in essence, being Jesus to them. Now, as many of us stay at home, we can share the love of Christ to our families, be Jesus to our families. Those of us who are living all alone may be sharing the love of Christ with our neighbors, online with our friends and families, and even with ourselves. We have more time at home to become like Mary and sit at the feet of Jesus and know Him better. As we are reminded of the short nature of life, we recognize more easily the priorities in our lives that matter the very most. We know that whether we live or die, our purpose is to live for Christ, to know God, and to help others know Him. We see God’s heart for us and others in Acts 17:24-28.

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’” (emphasis mine)

God isn’t wringing His hands in Heaven wondering how people will ever find Him during this time. He is seeking us even now. He put us in this place and time for a reason, so that “perhaps we reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” God never wanted us to have to live in a world of brokenness; we were designed for the Garden of Eden, for perfection, for holiness, but we chose to follow our own way and not His, causing evil to enter our lives.
God still allows us to live in a place much better than we deserve—and He sent His son Jesus so that we can someday go and live in perfection, the place we all long for, where there is no suffering and every tear will be wiped away. He deeply desires for us to know and seek Him, because that is when our lives are best. Even secular psychologists will tell you that people need meaning in their lives. God intentionally designed us for purpose and meaning, placing that yearning in our hearts so that we might seek and find Him. Our circumstances matter less, because He matters more and we are able to focus on our true future, Heaven. We often forget and get wrapped up in the frivolities here. Crisis reminds us who is actually in control and what our purpose is. It was always there—we just forget and think this is home. Our home is Heaven. And it is a much better place.

(1) The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis
Hannah is a past ALCS therapist who is sadly no longer a part of the ALCS team. She is currently a full-time stay at home mom, but still enjoys leading TBRI trainings on occasion. If you are interested in scheduling a training, you can reach out to ALCS administrative staff and they can connect you to Hannah.
Further Resources:
BibleProject: Heaven & Earth
"What does the Bible really teach about heaven, and what is heaven’s relationship to earth? In this video, we explore the surprising biblical viewpoint that heaven and earth were meant to overlap, and how Jesus is on a mission to bring them together once and for all." -BibleProject
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