Last week I came across a poem by C.S. Lewis, entitled “Joys That Sting,” written in the wake of his American wife, Joy Davidman’s passing. In its stanzas, the beloved author of the Narnia Chronicles tells us that what now sting most are the very joys he once shared with her…
To take the old walks alone, or not at all,
To order one pint where I ordered two,
To think of, and then not to make, the small
Time-honoured joke (senseless to all but you);
To laugh (oh, one’ll laugh), to talk upon
Themes that we talked upon when you were there,
To make some poor pretence of going on,
Be kind to one’s old friends, and seem to care,
While no one (O God) through the years will say
The simplest, common word in just your way.
That last line is the one that got me. The way it betrays the familiarity that Lewis shared with his wife, and the love that had grown between them. He knew her voice, her way, and her manner, and to him, these things were irreplaceable.
In this past Sunday’s talk (which you can listen to here) I spoke to the question of whether the God worshiped by Christians, Muslims, and Jews is indeed the same person. As it turns out, all one needs to do to answer that question is read John 5:23, which we spent some time in together. In conclusion to that time, I asked the question, “Why bother? Why all the fuss in answering this question? After all, aren’t all religions basically about the same thing?”
There are two problems with that line of thinking. One is that all religions are not about the same thing, and the second is that such a line of thinking betrays a lack of interest in really knowing God.
It’s the same mentality as would make a person okay with having someone into their house late at night, kidnap their spouse, and replace them with another. So long as the replacement performed all the same functions provided by the original, the person of this mentality would be content. Never would they find themselves crying on one of the “old walks” formerly taken with their lover, lamenting over “the simplest, common word” spoken “in just your way.”
Which leads me to ask… Do you love God in this way? Are you this familiar with him? Are you building a shared context of walks and experiences that bind your heart to his? Are you so acquainted with his character and his words that if someone were to, say, steal your Bible and replace it with a forgery, you would detect the loss of the original?
I don’t ask this to make you feel guilty (well, maybe just a little), but to remind you that the God who loved you so much that he sent his son is a God who invites you into an ongoing personal relationship. And once you give yourself to that, you will find it irreplaceable. Now go for a walk, share your heart, open the word, and get to know your God.
Pastor Daren Redekopp
p.s. Join us for prayer at 3pm this Sunday, to get to know Him together. Service is at 4pm.