A Grief Observed
“Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not ‘So there’s no God after all,’ but ‘So this is what God is really like. Deceive yourself no longer.”
This is an excerpt from the beginning of “A Grief Observed.” Not originally meant to be published, this book contains Lewis’ journal entries during the time he was grieving his wife’s death. A short read of only 76 pages, it is powerful to read as one of the greatest writers and thinkers of the 20th century struggles to find meaning in the faith that he so often proclaimed. To see Lewis come from some of the darkest moments in his life, and find meaning and faith again is a powerful testament to God’s movement in our lives…even in the times we protest His silence.
I actually picked this up at a time when I was grieving the loss of some of my own ideas of God. Some aspects of my faith were in need of being shattered. And I believe it was God who shattered them. As C.S. Lewis, I too was seriously struggling to regain meaning and faith. I also was not in a place of rejecting belief in God, but in coming to believing dreadful things about Him.
I really think God put this book in my path at a vital moment in my life, and I am eternally grateful. I came to realize that the faith I was grieving wasn’t actually a real faith, but rather a house of cards that I had built up. Even though it was painful to have that house knocked down, it was necessary for God to build a true faith in me. Lewis writes on page 52:
“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.”
I imagine that there are still rooms in my house of faith that are built from my own cards, and that God in his mercy and wisdom will knock them down in time, in order that I may have a whole faith, and a relationship with Him that isn’t inhibited by illusion.
All that to say, I highly recommend this book!