Category Archives: Literary

Eyes On The Horizon

There’s a sign in my room, crafted of pallet wood and paint.  A few inches wide and an arm’s length long.  Though unassuming in design, its message carries great weight in my day-to-day.  You see, it sits atop a high ledge, this sign, positioned precisely along my line of sight whenever I’m resting in bed.  Often, its message fills my last gaze before drifting off to dreams and it’s my first sight when I rise.

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”  C.S. Lewis

The creator of Narnia and apologetic masterpieces, C.S. Lewis was a man familiar with sorrow, acquainted with grappling life circumstances against the Scriptures.  He did not shy away from hard things nor did he minimize struggles to match up to cultural norms.  A scholar at Oxford and Cambridge, Lewis was considered among the academic elite of his day.  He firmly held to atheistic views, such as those summarized by Lucretius: “Had God designed the world, it would not be a world so frail and faulty as we see.”  Yet in his pursuit of understanding the world around him, wrestling his experiences with pain and suffering against the theology of the Bible, Lewis became a “reluctant convert”, finding the God of the Scriptures ultimately irresistible.

“You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen [College, Oxford], night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929, I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.”  (Excerpt from Lewis’ Surprised By Joy)

Much has been written of this remarkable man’s life, as indeed much has been scribed by his own pen.  He holds my respect, this brilliant mind who only ever believed that which he fully wrestled with until he could find it irrefutable.  His stories of a magical Wardrobe filled my childhood as his weightier works continue to challenge and inspire my adult perspectives on life and faith.  A library surely is incomplete without the full works from this extraordinary scholar.

This man, well versed in sorrows spanning world wars and personal losses of illness and death, determined that even in the face of such surmounting pains, hope towards the future could still exist.   It echoes the Psalmist’s resolution, “Surely I would have despaired had I not been convinced I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”  (Psalm 27:13)

If the Psalmist could still hold fast to hope while running for his life from the one who swore to elevate it, if Lewis could hold firmly to believing in brighter days ahead even while walking seasons tangibly dark with pain, then so can you, so can I.

A dear friend gave me his quote on a gray painted pallet board during a time of dark clouds abounding in my life, and I will always be grateful for her kindness.  May we all wake with this reassurance and each night, lie down knowing it to still be true:  indeed, “there are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”  It’s often been a timely reminder for me.  Perhaps, you need to hear it too.

Eyes on the horizon, dear ones.  Brighter days are surely still yet ahead.

Better Things Ahead

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Filed under Faith, Literary, Suffering

Worth Of Words

“Words are life, Liesel.”

Profound words simply stated by a Jew hiding in the depths of a Munich basement during World War II. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is one of my all-time favorite books. Brilliantly written, Zusak transports the reader into the heart of Nazi Germany through the eyes of an unexpected narrator, Death. He follows the life of a young girl, Liesel Meminger, as she meets her foster parents in Munich and later an endearing Jewish man in hiding, Max. This incredible story weaves truth, bittersweet hope and love through the dark Nazi canvas of the 1930’s and 40’s. So much can be said about this book yet any attempt of mine would be inadequate. In truth, The Book Thief stole my heart.

As Max wisely stated, words ARE life. They have the power to build or to tear down, to instill hope or bestow despair. A word spoke or written holds power beyond comprehension. How many times have words lingered minutes, years, decades in your mind after their first hearing? Like a redwood seed, a word can take root in the soul and its results grow beyond comprehension in a person’s life. With words we condemn, with words we forgive. Words name, claim and project over every aspect of life.

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Our words bring life or death. (Proverbs 18:21) The wisest king, Solomon, wrote, “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4) Why, even all creation came into being by words! “Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3) Jesus was God’s Word to mankind. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things cam into being through Him and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:1-3, 16)

Words are life! The question is: what kind of life are you creating by your words’ spoken, thought, ingested and imputed? Do you instill hope and blessing over your children by the way you speak to them, about them, over them? Do you view yourself by what this failing world says or by what God says about you? Do you whisper words of gratitude or entitlement about your circumstances, your belongings, your very existence?

From a dark German basement, a Jew imparted wisdom to his young friend. May we all heed his wisdom and be ever mindful of the worth our words carry . Speak life today.

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Filed under Literary, Words