C.S. Lewis Thinks About COVID-19

A friend sent this to me, and I think it’s timely. In point of fact, C.S. Lewis was writing about the atomic bomb back in 1948, not the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, so there are some important distinctions. COVID-19 is not a future threat; it is a present reality, and every precaution needs to be taken. We should not be out taking walks in crowded parks or enjoying carefree fellowship with friends and neighbors. However, the point is well taken—which is that the threat of death isn’t novel.* We should prepare for our own death and do all we can to prevent untimely death, but we should not live in a state of fear or panic. We need to keep our minds and hearts “stayed upon Jehovah” and at peace so that we can continue to live lives of love and good will!

This is what C.S. Lewis had to say seventy years ago:

“In one way we think a great deal too much of the COVID-19 Virus [replacing ‘the atomic bomb’ and so on throughout]. ‘How are we to live?’ I am tempted to reply: ‘Why, as you would have lived in the sixteenth century when the plague visited London almost every year, or as you would have lived in a Viking age when raiders from Scandinavia might land and cut your throat any night; or indeed, as you are already living in an age of cancer, an age of syphilis, an age of paralysis, an age of hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, an age of violence, an age of motor accidents.’

“In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the virus began: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics and antibiotics. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.

“This is the first point to be made: and the first action to be taken is to pull ourselves together. If we are all going to be destroyed by a virus, let that virus, when it comes, find us doing sensible and human things—praying, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, taking a walk, caring for our family, friends, and neighbors—not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about things we cannot see. They may break down our bodies, but they need not dominate our minds or destroy our spirits.” (Written by C.S. Lewis “On Living in an Atomic Age” in Present Concerns: Journalistic Essays).

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee:
because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3).

*If you are not prepared to die and would like to be, please click on the link at the top of this page that says “Coming To Christ.” It explains what the Bible teaches about how to make peace with God through repentance from our sins, faith in Christ—who died in our place so that we can be reconciled to God—and receiving the free gift of eternal life. Please let me know how/if I can pray for you!!

Chicago Baby

“We’ve left our house in Spokane and are moving to a department (apartment) in Chicago,”  Amélie confided soberly. Moving is NO FUN! I was just Amélie’s age (5) when our family moved from Indiana to Michigan, and I was heart broken, particularly because I wasn’t sure how I’d find my way back home so I could marry my boyfriend (also 5) when we grew up. It was the summer of 1956, and “Que Sera, Sera” was playing on radios everywhere! “Whatever will be will be.”  Somehow, I found the words comforting and remember singing them to myself as I explored our new home in East Lansing. Little people feel things with every bit as much passion as adults! In an effort to soothe the kids, Jon gave us all a little slide show of their home and friends from Spokane, and I think it might have helped Amélie in her efforts to process everything, but poor little Sophie (3) burst into gales of inconsolable tears. Jon and Linda have been doing everything they can to ease the way, but there’s no doubt about it: Moving is tremendously unsettling! Yes, it’s fun to spend some time with Nana and Grandpa, and yes, it will be fun to spend some time in Germany and visit with Gerlinde’s family, but leaving all their friends and moving from their lovely home out west into Chicago—one of America’s biggest (and scariest) cities—is paramount to panic!  Are you facing a move? I think it’s good to get in touch with our feelings during transitions, but I also think it’s important to track our thoughts. We shouldn’t just listen to ourselves, we should talk to ourselves too…speaking truths into our lives to give us courage, such as Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”  God loves us. He is doing a good work in us to make us more like Himself! Rather than being fearful about the future, let’s ask God for the grace to claim Isaiah 26:3,  “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”  P.S.—I am so thankful for my courageous daughter-in-law, who is a beautiful example of Sarah from the Bible (and her mother Sarah, who left her homeland and followed her husband to the mission field in Tanzania). “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement” (I Peter 3:6).

“When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother
What will I be
Will I be pretty
Will I be rich
Here’s what she said to me

“Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be

“When I grew up and fell in love
I asked my sweetheart
What lies ahead
Will we have rainbows
Day after day
Here’s what my sweetheart said

“Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be

“Now I have children of my own
They ask their mother
What will I be
Will I be handsome
Will I be rich
I tell them tenderly

“Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be
Que Sera, Sera.” (—Composed by Jay Livingston)

Rise Up, My Love (228): Would You Like Eyes of Peace?

“Thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bath-rabbim” (Song of Solomon 7:4). A gate where multitudes passed by for water suggests a broad gate and an extremely busy thoroughfare. For the husband to experience his wife’s eyes as deep reservoirs of water beside a busy gate brings to mind a husband who—in the midst of the press and rush of business—could stop to drink in his wife’s beauty and find himself refreshed by the placid, unruffled serenity reflected in her eyes. There is nothing so appealing and calming as bright, clear, peaceful eyes in the midst of a world of confusion…not eyes that have been blurred by staring at earthly possessions, fired by anger, or clouded by guilt, but eyes with clarity, depth, and purity…eyes like the reservoirs of Heshbon—deep calling unto deep (Psalm 42:7)—reflecting the radiant image of the Son of God. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Dear Lord, please give us such eyes…eyes that “are ever toward the Lord” (Psalm 25:15). Give us eyes that sparkle and shine with eternity’s “I love you” and hold heaven in their heart. Eyes that reflect the depth of your character and can guide blind travelers searching through the trackless deserts of this world for reservoirs supplied by your springs of living water. Please give us eyes that reflect the perfect peace of one whose mind is stayed on you (Isaiah 26:3)…whose eyes are calm with the quietness that only you can give. “When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble?” (Job 34:29). Oh, Lord, teach us to open that door which separates soul from spirit in our inmost being and retreat to the spiritual world, closing the door on the yearnings of our flesh so that we might focus without interruption on you. Please give us “eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bath-rabbim.”

“Peace”
There is a peace which cometh after sorrow,
Of hope surrendered, not of hope fulfilled:
A peace that looketh not upon tomorrow,
But calmly on the tempest that is stilled.
A peace which lives not now in joy’s excesses,
Nor in a happy life of love secure;
But in the strength the heart possesses—
Of conflicts won while learning to endure.
A peace that is in Sacrifice secluded,
A life subdued, from will and passions free;
‘Tis not the peace which over Eden broodeth,
But which triumphed in Gethsemane.” —Jessie Rose Gates
( Found in Lockyer, Dr. Herbert. Love Is Better Than Wine. Harrison: New Leaf Press, 1981, p. 116)