C.S. Lewis' Doubts

C.S. Lewis is known the world over for his children's books, The Chronicles of Narnia. He was known as one of Christianity's great spokesmen. But even Lewis had his dark valley of doubt. His book, The Last Battle, had just won the Carnegie Medal when it was published in 1956. Shortly after that, he met and married Joy Davidman, a divorced American poet with two young sons. The civil marriage ceremony between a confirmed 56 year old bachelor and an American woman fighting bone cancer was performed at Joy's hospital bedside. Many speculated that Lewis was extending his citizenship through marriage to Joy to prevent her deportation by the British authorities. After the wedding, Lewis experienced all of the joys of married life as Joy's health dramatically improved. In 1960, however, the cancer prevailed and Lewis lost his wife. Lewis hand wrote a volume during this grieving period which was later published as A Grief Observed under the pen name of N.W. Clerk. Biographers of this period said "C.S. Lewis joined the human race the day his wife, Joy, died of cancer." Known the world over as one of Christianity's promoters, Lewis suddenly experienced debilitating doubt. He wrote: "Nothing will shake a man--or at any rate a man like me--out of his merely verbal thinking and his merely notional beliefs. He has to be knocked silly before he comes to his senses. Only torture will bring out the truth. Only under torture does he discover it himself." Madeleine L'Engle writes: "I am grateful to Lewis for having the courage to yell, to doubt, to kick at God in angry violence. This is a part of a healthy grief which is not often encouraged. It is helpful indeed that C. S. Lewis, who has been such a successful apologist for Christianity, should have the courage to admit doubt about what he has so superbly proclaimed. It gives us permission to admit our own doubts, our own angers and anguishes, and to know that they are part of the soul's growth." A Grief Observed chronicled Lewis's extreme grief and loss. In the book's pages, he questions everything he had ever believed about life and death, marriage, and even God. Thankfully, Lewis didn't stay in doubt. By the end of A Grief Observed, Lewis had rediscovered and deepened his faith. ? 2003 Cheryl K. Miller



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