In this grim and grueling journal of grief and sorrow, Lewis takes the reader through the valley of the shadow of death. He’s brutal and honest: in suffering, tears, and pain, sometimes the Christian only gets a tiny and brief ray of hope. But since it is heaven’s ray, it is sufficient even though it might not be warm enough to immediately dry our tears. Here’s a part I was just reading as I study Philippians 3.10.
“From the rational point of view, what new factor has H’s death (“H” is Lewis’ wife who had recently died) introduced into the problem of the universe? What grounds has it given me for doubting all that I believe? I knew already that these things, and worse, happened daily. I would have said that I had taken them into account. I had been warned – I had warned myself – not to reckon on worldly happiness. We were even promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, ‘Blessed are they that mourn,’ and I accepted it. I’ve got nothing that I hadn’t bargained for.”
This is also an amazing sentence about grief and suffering.
“You can’t see anything properly while your eyes are blurred with tears.”
Taking these two things together – that we will weep and that tears will distort our vision – leads us to a great note by Thomas Watson: We are not competent judges of what’s best for us (The Lord’s Prayer, p. 193). When weeping for sorrow, we should reserve judgment and neither think any rash thoughts nor make any big decisions, because our minds are fogged over by pain. Maybe that’s why the Sage said, Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool and lean not on your own understanding, but instead trust in the Lord with all your heart (Prov. 28.26 & 3.5). Being made passive in suffering hurts like crazy, but it should make us distrust ourselves and trust the Lord all the more, because he know’s what is best for us in the long run and suffering is part of the program:
“So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you” (1 Pet. 4.19 NLT).