That’s a good question to consider this morning. How well do we know ourselves? How well do we understand the deep longings of the heart?
I’m going through a seminar right now with a gentleman, specializes in leadership development and he’s teaching right now a lot of the faculty down at UAB. He also teaches the students at Beeson Divinity School on Leadership. And this seminar has been quite fascinating, but this, this gentleman, Dr. Mark Searby, he starts with three foundational pillars to build your life on. And the first he says, and the most important place to start, he says, is self-knowledge. I’m going to read you a quote. He says, “the better we know ourselves, the healthier we are, and the better we can relate to others.” And then he says, “healthy people know themselves”.
So I think that’s a good place to start as we look at this, this morning, because as, as I think most of you know, I work very closely with men. You know, for 28 years in the business world, I worked with lots of men, and then in the last five years I’ve had a lot of opportunities to meet in men as far as in groups, but a lot of one-on-one, sessions. And one of the things that I’ve noticed about men, maybe really about every single one of us is that we’re all searching for something, but sometimes we’re just not sure what it is we’re after. It’s like one cynic replied, he says, men aren’t really sure what they’re looking for, but one thing they’re sure of, they haven’t found it.
Freud in fact, described it that we have this longing in our lives. In fact, Nicholi says, Freud said that this longing that he recognized in his own life, it says it haunted him all of his life. And the reason it haunted him was because he never could quite put his finger on what it was, and he never could satisfy the longing.
Now, there’s a gentleman that I’ve read a number of his books. His name is Dr. Alistair McGrath. He’s a professor over at Oxford. He’s an unusual man in his background because he is a scientist and he is a theologian, and he is quite a prolific writer, in that he is written probably 40 or 50 books. But he was giving a talk to some students at the University of Melbourne in Australia and I think he articulates this longing quite well. Listen to what he says.
“I remember once going to a fairground and I walked into what they called a hall of mirrors and in these mirrors I saw myself as I had never seen myself before. I was distorted. Everything seemed to be wrong and out of alignment. And that feeling of distortion often comes back to me as I think about life. The way things are, seems to be all wrong. We try to pretend that everything is fine, but deep down, we know it’s not. Many are frightened about dying. They may not want to talk about it, but the fear is there. Some find it unbearable and deep in the night, they wonder about death. They wonder if its fear could ever be overcome. Others find themselves longing for something, something which they can never quite define, and which anyway never seems to happen. They thought that this career move, that academic qualification, this relationship would satisfy their deepest desires but they don’t. There’s this deep sense of yearning for something that somehow never seems to come along. And people wonder, is there any way in which this deep and unsatisfied longing could ever be satisfied? Yet, there always seems to be another mountain to climb, another river to cross. Something seems to be wrong, and we wonder, can anything be done about it?”
You know, what strikes me as, as I read that, is that I think he is correct, and I’m going to come back to this in a minute, that many men are troubled by the thought of dying. But I think many of us are disturbed by an even greater fear, and that is that we may die and never have really lived.
So, this morning, I want to talk about this, what I would call dilemma that men are faced with in their lives. You know, I’m asked all the time, how did I happen to start this work? The Center for Executive Leadership? How did this happen? And generally, if they have a few minutes for me to kind of tell a little brief story, this is what I share with them. I say, you know, what I have come to see is that there is a pattern in men’s lives. You think about a young man, and we’ve all been there. Some of us, it’s been a quite a while. But, you know, you come out of college or you come out of graduate school or you come out of law school or medical school and begin your career, you find that, I find that men at this stage of their lives feel like they’re somewhat bulletproof. You know, there’s a sense that I’m, you know, I’m going to go out and I’m going to conquer the world. And their dream is to go out and make a great deal of money. And this is kind of interesting. So often I find they go out and look for a career where they can make a lot of money instead of trying to figure out, what do I really love to do? What am I really passionate about? You know, what really fits well with me. Instead its I want to go out and make a lot of money. I’m going to marry a beautiful woman of my dreams. I’m going to have great kids, and I’m going to live a happy, fulfilled, satisfying life. That’s the plan and most men generally believe that they know the path that’s going to take them there. They’re very confident at this stage. I know the path that’ll get me where I want to go, and it’ll deliver to my life what I want.
But then you’ve got to fast forward 15, 20 years, they are married, they do have children, they do have financial obligations, they do have pressures at work, and they hit midlife and one day they realized that, you know, my life has not turned out the way I’d planned it, the way I’d planned it 20 years ago. And I find that, even if things have gone really well, there’s still this sense of something’s lacking. I had a guy I met with just recently, he says, I’ve come to the conclusion, he’s 44 years old, there’s got to be something more than what I’m experiencing in this life.
So, what happens is the search keeps going. And this is where I try, if they show up at a function of The Center, this is where I try to maybe show men that there might be a different path for them to go down. But what I’ve discovered, and this has application for most of us, and some of us are going to be there soon. You know, I like to divide life up the way Bob Buford does into a first half, second half. Now, you know, Wall Street Journal says that the average lifespan of a man is 75 years in this country. And I think it’s slowly inching up, but you do the math on that, you know, you hit 37 and a half and you’re halfway through life based on the statistics. And what I’ve discovered is that life gets problematic in the second half. And in other words, that men in the second half of their lives have to deal with additional issues that they didn’t have to deal with in the first half. And let me, this is a good place to start as we think about the issue of contentment or discontentment, or finding fulfillment and satisfaction in life, is something that Blaise Pascal observed in our lives. This was 350 years ago, but it’s a great observation. He said, you know, human beings, we’re the most paradoxical of all of God’s creatures.
He says, we’re, on one hand, we’re the grandest, and we are. We’re designed in His image. We’re the grandest in all creation. But the problem is, he says, we’re also, we experience the greatest amount of misery of all His creatures. And he says, the reason is because we can reflect upon our existence, which is why we’re so grand but it’s also the basis of our misery. Because he, what he says is, you know, first of all, we can reflect backwards. We can look at the past. We can think about regrets, mistakes, the pain from the past, and we can think about it and reflect upon it. But he says, also, we are continually thinking about the future. And that no matter how well it’s going, we can always seem to contemplate a better life than we’re currently experiencing. Now, think about your life today. Isn’t there something about your life that could be better? It might be in your career and your work. It might be financially, it might be in your marriage, it might be your children, it might be your health. But what happens is, is we think this way, this creates several problems. The first is, Pascal says, we scarcely ever think about life in the present. We’re always trying to arrange the future. And I quote, he says, “so we never really live, but we hope to live one day.” You know, when this happens in the future, that’s when my life will be good.
He says, “we’re always preparing for a full and satisfying life, but it is inevitable, we never will.” So that’s the first problem. This ability to reflect upon our lives, what it does to us. It causes us to always be living in the future, and we never live in the now.
But the second problem is, as we dream of a better life, and we think, you know, maybe next year or five years from now, or 10 years from now, or my kids are out of college, or when I’m retired, what happens is at some point it begins to dawn on us that we’re never going to have and we’re never going to achieve all that we’ve hoped for. And when this happens, men begin to experience a pervasive disappointment and despair in their lives. I would call it a discontentment. So that’s the first issue that you have to deal with in the second half of your life. A lot of this, you don’t see it when you’re 25 and 28. But also, this is another problem in the second half of life. And I know all of this sounds kind of bleak, but, I’m going to give you some hope and some optimism in a minute. But men wrestle in the second half of their life with a question that Larry Crabb says, haunts all men. It’s a question I don’t think we wake up in the morning and start asking ourselves this question. He says, this is a question that’s deeply embedded within us, and we’re not even aware of it sometimes. And Crabb, by the way, is probably the most prominent Christian clinical psychologist in our country. He’s written a host of wonderful books, very wise man. And he says, this is a question that haunts every man. And this is the question, am I adequate? Does my life measure up? Do I measure up as a man? And he says, “it’s this question that haunts us that explains why we always compare ourselves with other men.”
You know, there’s that, that’s a horrible thing. We’re always looking at somebody, we’re always comparing ourselves. And he says, “this is also the reason we love to impress others because we can win their approval and feel good about who we are as men.” So this is a second issue in our lives that we have to deal with.
And thirdly, I’m seeing more and more of us in the second half of our lives becoming more concerned about the legacy that we leave behind. Now again, you don’t really think about that much when you’re young, but there’s something in us as we get older, we want to know, how am I going to be remembered? Did my life really count for anything? And again, it begins to haunt us. That’s why Bob Buford’s three books, Halftime, Game Plan and Stuck in Halftime, have done so well and have resonated so much with men, had a major impact on my life, because it deals with this issue of our desire to move from living a life of success, to living a life of significance. And significance means making a difference that lasts over time.
In the second half of our lives, we also develop fears, new fears that we used to not have. For some men, it might be financial. Am I going to have enough money when I get to retirement, when I get to the end of my life? Will I have enough? We have the fear, I’m learning this, fear about our children. I have young children, but I had a man yesterday, after the talk on Wednesday, come up and say, you know, I’m 72 years old. I still worry about my kids. Worry about them all the time.
And then you’ve got the issue of mortality. And then finally, you know, the older you get, the more baggage you have in your life.
You know, Jerry Leachman talked about, I’m going to speak on this sometime in one of these sessions in the future, on the issue of anger. You know what anger is all about? It’s about the past. Something that’s happened in my past and I’m angry about it. You got guilt and shame. And one of the things I see more than almost anything else is the regret that men have in their lives. I’m amazed at how many men beat themselves up over the past.
Now, all that I’ve just shared this morning, I believe, explains why life can be so unsatisfying and so disappointing and even painful for so many as the years go by. But you know, guys, when it gets right down to it, I think one of the major problems we have as men is what Tolstoy observed when he said, we’re not able to listen to the voice of our souls. That’s a problem. Or, I guess I should say, an author who wrote about Tolstoy says, we are not able to listen to the voice of our souls. And so what do we do? We grow up and we listen to the voices of the world because the world tells us you need this. You need to achieve that; you need to do this if you’re going to have a full and complete life. And we listen to those voices, but we never in the process consider the needs of the soul. And, in the process, we never seem to listen to the voice of God. What does He have to say about life? And this issue? This is a wonderful book that I’ve just started called The Great Omission by Dallas Willard.
Willard is absolutely brilliant. He’s got his PhD in philosophy. He teaches at USC. He has been head of that department. And in this chapter, he says, “Who is your teacher?” He says, “Today is often spoken of as the age of information. Information is vital to all we do, of course. But then it always has been. What distinguishes the present time is that there’s a lot more information and misinformation available than ever before and a lot of people are trying to sell it to us. But what happens to Jesus in the crush of the information pushers? Unfortunately, He’s usually pushed aside. Many Christians don’t even think of Him as one with reliable information about their lives. Consequently, they don’t become His students. What does He really have to teach us about life? It’s very common to find Christians who work hard to master a profession and succeed very well in human estimation, while the content of their studies contains no reference at all to Jesus or His teachings.” And then he says, “how could this be?” He says, “Far too often Christ is regarded as hardly conscious. He’s taken as a mere icon, a earth-like semblance of a man living on the margins of real life where you and I have to dwell. It’s like Jesus is irrelevant. He is perhaps fit for the role of sacrificial lamb or alienated social critic but little more.”
Then listen to this, he says, “But can we seriously imagine that Jesus could be Lord of all of life if He were not smart? If He were divine, would He be dumb or uninformed? Once you stop to think about it, how could He be what Christians take Him to be in other respects and not be the best informed and most intelligent person of all, the smartest person who ever lived.” And then listen to these words, “bringing us the best information on the most important subjects.”
You know, do we see Christ that way? If you really think about it, Jesus addresses life’s most substantive issues regarding human existence. And yet so few people want to listen to what He has to say, but we’ll listen to the world and all the pundits out there telling us how we should live our lives and what will fulfill us. I want to read to you some of Jesus’ words because He addressed the heart of this matter. This is His words from the book of John, the sixth chapter, the 35th verse. (John 6:35)
He says, “Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” And then in the seventh chapter, in the 38th verse (John 7:38), He says, “He who believes in me, as the scripture says, from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” But this he spoke of the spirit whom those who believed in Him were to receive.
Now here Christ is clearly speaking of a hunger and thirst with within each of us that He says only He can satisfy. And clearly guys, He is not talking about the body, but He’s clearly, I think He’s clearly talking about the soul.
Now, when you start talking about the human soul, I often have people say, well, what is the soul? And I think that’s a legitimate question. And I think Willard gives us a great definition. He says, “What is running your life at any given moment is your soul, not external circumstances or your thoughts or your intentions or even your feelings, but your soul. The soul is that aspect of your whole being that correlates, integrates, and enlivens everything going on in the various dimensions of the self.” And then he says this, “It is the life center of the human being, and it regulates whatever is occurring in each of those dimensions and how they interact with each other and respond to surrounding events in the overall governance of your life.” And then he says this, “The soul is deep in the sense of being basic or foundational, and also in the sense that it lies almost totally beyond conscious awareness.”
And I think that explains why men on their own have a hard time discerning the thirst of the soul and knowing what it’s thirsting after because I think what he says is true because it lies almost totally beyond our conscious awareness and we don’t know how to listen to the voice of our souls. You know, if you think about this morning, I’ve used the word, searching, desiring, longing, yearning. And I contend that if we could peel back all the layers of our lives and get to the innermost being, we would all discover that we’re attempting to satisfy this hunger and thirst of the soul that Jesus refers to. And I would also make this contention, this longing that haunted Freud, he never could recognize because he didn’t believe in God and he didn’t even believe you had a soul. And therefore, this longing haunted him all his life because it was a longing of his soul that only Christ can satisfy. Now, all that I’ve said up until now really can be summarized in one verse in the Old Testament. And it’s one of my favorite verses in the Old Testament and it’s amazing that one little verse could say so much, but it’s in Jeremiah chapter two, and it’s the 13th verse, (Jeremiah 2:13) and I’m going to read it to you real quickly.
He says, “For my people,” notice he’s saying, I’m not talking about the pagan world. He says, “My people have committed two evils. They have forsaken me, the fountain of living water to make for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.”
You realize what he’s saying there? He says, we as human beings struggle so much in life because we forsake the fountain of living water and in the process, we listen to the voices of the world and we construct a strategy for our lives that we hope will satisfy the longings that we have. Only what happens is that we find, particularly in the second half of our lives, that we have actually constructed vessels that are broken and cannot hold water. And it leaves us continually thirsty, continually searching, continually longing, and we don’t know why.
Now I want to close our time and I think this, hopefully this, if nothing else would be worth you coming to, because this is really kind of what I built this talk on when I read this. And I saw this and noticed it for the first time. I believe a real model for life is C.S. Lewis. And it’s not because he was so brilliant. I’m talking about the quality of his life, the excellence of his life, the beauty of his life. You see, I spent most of my Christian life reading his works that are just incredibly profound. But in the last year or two, I’ve read books about his life. I’ve read three different books about his life. And I’m just incredibly impressed, again, with the quality of his life, the joy that he had in life, the contentment he had. And most people say, well, that’s probably because he was famous. What most people don’t realize, he really wasn’t that famous while he was alive. He died in 1963 and he even made a comment. He says, well, after I’m dead and gone, he said, people will quit buying my books. And any money that he had, he put in a foundation to give away. So he never was a really wealthy man. And he, I mean, he was fairly well known, I think over in England in that area. But his real promise, his real fame, has come after he has been dead. But Nicholi recognized what I just shared with you, the high quality of life, just the quality of a person that he was and just the joy and the fulfillment and the fullness of life that you saw in him. And Nicholi says, who studied his life quite extensively, he says, “As a psychiatrist, I suggest there are three factors that had such an impact on him.”
And I want to share those three factors with you real briefly. The first thing he says is that he said is Lewis, you know, who was, by the way, he was an atheist till he was 31 and then he became a Christian. And he says, Lewis began to read the Old and New Testament seriously. He noted a new method of establishing his identity, and of coming to terms with his real personality, with who he really was. He says, “Lewis writes that this involves losing yourself in your relationship to the creator. Until you have given up yourself to Him, Lewis writes, you’ll not have a real self, you’ll never find out who you are.” In particular, Lewis paid attention to the New Testament verse, “whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” You realize what he’s saying? He realize that if you’re ever going to really find your life, if you’re going to live it to the fullest, you have to give it up. You have to surrender it. Now that goes against our nature, that goes against, that just doesn’t seem to make sense because we think in order to find life, you got to go out and grab it. And he says, this is the paradox. You got to relinquish it. You have to let it go. You have to give it to Him.
Tony Campolo shares a great illustration that I think is pertinent to this. Campolo, as you may or may not know, was, he taught for years at the University of Pennsylvania and now teaches at Eastern College in Philadelphia. And he says, “As a college professor, I could always count on someone coming into my office around the beginning of May and telling me he wasn’t coming back next semester. And it was usually a guy.” He said, “I would try to be professional and ask, pray, tell why.” He said, “The student would look at me and say, ‘I need time.’ If I asked why he needed time, the answer was invariably, ‘I need time to find myself, who I am, and what I really want in life.’” Campolo says, you know, “there’s a whole generation of students out there trying to find themselves and they’re all looking in the same place. Vail, Colorado.” And he says, “They all say the same things. I’m tired of playing the roles that others have prescribed for me. I’m tired of being the person my parents expect me to be. I’m tired of being what my friends expect me to be, the core of my being, the essence of myself, but I’m tired.” Campolo says, and he tries to explain this to these students. “I’m convinced that the self is not an essence waiting to be discovered through philosophical introspection. Quite the contrary. I believe that the self is, in essence, waiting to be created. We create who we are through the commitments that we make. And without commitments, we have no identity. That’s why Jesus says, whoever seeks to find himself will lose himself. But whosoever is willing to lose his life for My sake and the sake of My kingdom, he will find himself, he will find life. Jesus is telling us that it is in commitments to Him and the work that He has for us to do that we discover who we are and what our lives are all about.”
And you know, the problem that we have, for some reason, we grow up and we want, particularly as modern men, we love to have options. We need options. We need lots of options for life. And the more the better. And we want to live flexibly and autonomously. But I also would say, and I think every one of us in this room would agree that you cannot expect to have a meaningful love relationship with God or with anyone without a surrendered commitment. Imagine approaching marriage with this attitude. I want to marry you honey, but I need options. I need flexibility, and I need my autonomy. I mean, you know, that it just doesn’t work. It can’t work unless there’s a surrender.
And what C.S. Lewis realize is that there is a transforming power in commitment to Christ. And that he realized that when he truly surrendered to Jesus, this is when his soul flourished. And yet, I think too often our problem is, is that we want to believe in Jesus, but I want to serve Him on my terms. It just doesn’t work that way.
The second factor, according to Nicholi is that, it says secondly, Lewis truly understood the word agape, of loving one’s neighbor by wanting the best for him and exercising one’s will to act accordingly. It also took Lewis outside of himself. He developed a capacity to step out of his own needs sufficiently to come to become aware of the needs of others and to exercise his will to meet those needs.
Y’all remember Lyle Dorsett who came and who wrote that book, Seeking the Secret Place about Lewis’s spiritual life and spiritual development. He said Lewis lived with a sense of calling. You know, he said he wrote thousands of letters. He says, anybody that would write him a letter, he’d write them back. And then of course, he wrote all these books and he had all these conversations with students because he saw his calling was, is helping people to find their faith. Lewis lived with a sense of mission. I have a mission in this life. He lived with a calling.
I’ve shared this story before, but I think it’s a good one and some of you probably haven’t heard it, but this happened in my life a number of years ago. I was in New York and I caught a taxi cab and I was heading somewhere to a meeting and I got in the cab and there’s a, you know, when you’re in the back seat, you’re looking right at the back part of the front seat and it’s staring you in the face. And in this particular cab, there was this big bumper sticker. And I need to tell you that the driver was a probably a 60 year old little short man, real thick glasses, an accent clearly from another country. I didn’t say a lot, but staring me in the face intentionally, you knew it was intentional, was this bumper sticker that says “Jews for Jesus”. Now, you may not be familiar with that, but that is a national organization with thousands of members of Jewish people who have become Christians who recognize that Christ is their messiah that they’ve been waiting on.
And I was familiar with the organization, and I asked the man, kind of playing dumb, what is this? What is your sign here? And he, I mean, it’s like you, I mean, by asking that question, it was like punching this guy’s hot button. Because he then just begins to tell me all about what happened in his life, how he was raised a Jew, how he came to find that Christ is the true messiah. And you know, he spends his life telling people that, telling the story. And I began to realize he was trying to convert me until I say, listen, you know, we’re on the same team. And we finally, I said, you know, you can let me off over on the corner. And as he was letting me off, and as I was paying him, he told me something and I’ve never forgotten this. He said, “God has blessed my life. God has blessed my life because he has called me to drive a taxi in New York City. And every day I get to serve people and drive them to their destination. And every day I get to tell them about the loving claims of Jesus Christ. I am a blessed man.”
I mean, here’s a guy that loved what he was doing because he saw it as this was my calling. This is what God has called me to do. You know, what has God called you and I to do with our lives? Do we live with this sense of calling, with a sense of mission? Because you see what happens when you live with that. Your life has real direction. And
it’s accompanied by peace and contentment. I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. So that was the second thing he noticed in Lewis. Thirdly, and this is really, I think this is pretty cool. He talks, I didn’t realize this, he says, “Lewis, before he became a Christian, he just had a real dim view of life and people. He didn’t like people. He had no friends hardly. He was kind of an angry man.” And he goes on to say, what happened is that, he said that Lewis, after he became a Christian, he said his whole worldview changed in his valuation of people. He said, people in his new view, transcendent time and significance, everything else on earth. And listen, it says, “this new view forced him to set new priorities in his life. The first priority given to his relationship with God, the second priority to his relationships with other people.”
And what you see is that, you know, I’ll just read a little, some parts of this. This is really pretty good. It said, “Most of the biographers of Lewis as well as his close friends, emphasize how profoundly his change of worldview altered his life, in particular, his capacity to experience happiness. Before his transition, Lewis had not the slightest hint that there ever had been or ever would be any connection between God and joy. He had not yet recognized that the deep yearning he called joy was a desire for a relationship with the person who had made him. And after his conversion, Lewis found happiness in his newly established relationship with the creator and with his many new friendships that he formed. Nothing brought Lewis more enjoyment than sitting around a fire with a group of friends engaged in good discussion or taking long walks with them through the English countryside. ‘My happiest hours,’ Lewis wrote, ‘are spent with three or four old friends in old clothes tramping together and putting up in small pubs or out sitting up till the small hours in someone’s college room, talking nonsense, poetry, theology, metaphysics.’ He says, ‘there’s no sound I like better than laughter’. And another letter to his friend, Greeves, Lewis writes, ‘Friendship is the greatest of worldly goods. Certainly to me it is the chief happiness of life. If I had to give a piece of advice to a young man about a place to live, I think I should say sacrifice almost everything to live where you can be near your friends.’ Lewis changed from a wary introvert with very few close relationships to a personal extrovert with scores of close friends and colleagues. George Sayer, a biographer who knew Lewis for some 30 years and Owen Barfield, a close friend for over 40 years, to describe Lewis after his conversion, he was unusually cheerful and took an almost boyish delight in life. They described him as great fun and extremely witty, amusing companion, considerate and more concerned with the welfare of his friends than with himself.”
You know, what he’s saying is that Lewis recognized about the value of relationships and that he invested so much of his time and his life in his relationships with others and it bore fruit in his life.
You know, in the Bible studies that I meet with, we just finished reading a book called Margin and it was quite interesting. The book points out that “modern life focuses so much on progress. The problem is progress’s biggest failure has been its inability to nurture and protect right relationships. If progress had helped here, I would have no quarrel with it. As we have seen progress builds by using the tools of economics, education, and technology. But if we’re better off economically, educationally, and are more efficient because of technology, but in the process have poor relationships, what will that mean to the quality of our lives?” And he says, “While the progress we boast of is found within the material and cognitive environments, most of the pain we suffer is found within the social, emotional and spiritual.”
And the point he makes is this, we as a culture have truly made progress. But with that progress, we have a lot more pain in our lives. And the reason he says is because it has damaged our relationships so profoundly.
So, I think Lewis really found, he really understood that relationships, deep, intimate relationships with family and friends is at the heart of a meaningful life.
Now, I want to close, I want to add one fourth part that Nicholi didn’t mention, but this is in my book, the last chapter, which is really kind of a final, I call it the final, final reflections. And it’s about Lewis’ life and his perspective on death. And it also talks about how life ended for him. And I just want to read to you two paragraphs and then I’m going to wrap, I’ll be done. And before I read this, let me just say that we’re in the second half of our lives. You know, we become more and more aware of the passage of time. We do. And for most men, as we get older, the future becomes the enemy. And because life gets more and more difficult as the end is near, because there is an ending to all of this life as we know it. And that can haunt a man as well. But listen to these words about Lewis.
“For the last two years of his life, C.S. Lewis suffered from very poor health. He knew that death was at hand and yet anticipated it with cheerfulness and peace. At one point he said, ‘if we really believe what we say we believe, if we really think that a home is elsewhere and this life is a wandering to find home, why should we not look forward to the arrival?’” That’s a good point.
“Two weeks before he died, he had lunch with a faculty colleague and friend, Richard Ladborough. And it became apparent to Ladborough that this would probably be the last time they would be together in a personal setting. And he made this observation. ‘I somehow felt it was the last time we should meet. And when he escorted me with his usual courtesy to the door, I think he felt so too. Never was a man better prepared.’ Finally, a week before his death, he shared these words with his brother Warren. ‘I have done all that I was sent into the world to do, and I am ready to go.’ His brother remarked that ‘I have never seen death, looked in the face so tranquilly.’ This is a picture of a man who was truly liberated from the fear of death. Lewis had clearly entrusted his eternal well-being to a living savior, the one who the Bible says, abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And Christ offers that same inner peace to anyone who is willing to surrender and say yes to His offer of forgiveness and eternal life.”
Guys, for C.S. Lewis. Jesus was his primary loyalty in life and he allowed Christ to lead him through life. He followed Christ because he got it. He realized that Jesus is the fountain of life and He is the only one that can satisfy the longing of the soul.
Let me close in prayer. Father, we thank You that You reveal to us the key to life, that You are the fountain of life, and that You desire to, to satisfy this thirst that we have, the longings in each of our lives. Father, I pray that we would be wise and realize this and embrace this and surrender all to You, and then follow You as You lead, knowing that You do have a plan for our lives. And we thank You for that. That’s in Christ’s name we pray. Amen.