Thursday, October 02, 2014

C.S. Lewis on Longing (in The Weight of Glory)

“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

How often is this me? Content to play in the mud instead of swimming in the ocean of God's grace? Settling for tiny tastes of God instead of enjoying the feast he has prepared for me? I am far too easily pleased...

Think how often do we seek fulfillment in lesser things?
Yet “...we remain conscious of a desire which no natural happiness will satisfy." (Lewis)

TV, Movies, Facebook, Twitter, all other social media, none of these things are bad in and of themselves. But just as no books or art or music will satisfy our deepest longings, none of our modern day entertainment will either. And we know this!

"But is there any reason to suppose that reality offers any satisfaction to it? "Nor does the being hungry prove that we have bread." But I think it may be urged that this misses the point. A man's physical hunger does not prove that that man will get any bread; he may die of starvation on a raft in the Atlantic. But surely a man's hunger does prove that he comes of a race which repairs its body by eating and inhabits a world where eatable substances exist. In the same way, though I do not believe (I wish I did) that my desire for Paradise proves that I shall enjoy it, I think it a pretty good indication that such a thing exists and that some men will.” - The Weight of Glory

Lewis words this argument more succinctly in Mere Christianity:
"Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for these desires exists. A baby feels hunger; well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim; well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire; well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." (Mere Christianity, Bk. III, chap. 10, "Hope")

I love that! We were made for a whole, complete relationship with God, lacking nothing! So of course our heart aches for more than this fallen world can offer. And we know that God has set eternity in our hearts; he put the desire there so we would long for him and not be satisfied by lesser things. Praise be to God!


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Feel free to comment with your own thoughts and questions!

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