Following Christ makes perfectly good sense to me. His teachings hang together and speak to my deepest needs and questions. But I admit that Mr. Spock would find his logic challenging.
When Jesus says things like, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 14:26) and “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24) one can get mental angina.
Christian pastor and author A. W. Tozer once wrote a remarkable little article entitled “That Incredible Christian” that further illustrates the dilemma. He says of the Christian:
“He may be and often is highest when he feels lowest and most sinless when he is most conscious of sin. He is wisest when he knows that he knows not and knows least when he has acquired the greatest amount of knowledge. He sometimes does most by doing nothing and goes furthest when standing still. In heaviness he manages to rejoice and keeps his heart glad even in sorrow.”1
In November 1954 C. S. Lewis wrote to Dom Bede Griffiths and shared his thoughts about the novels of Charles Dickens. This led him to reflect on his “moods” concerning death and joy. He writes,
“About death, I go through different moods, but the times when I can desire it are never, I think, those when this world seems harshest. On the contrary, it is just when there seems to be most of Heaven already here that I come nearest to longing for the patria [Latin for fatherland or homeland] . . . All joy (as distinct from mere pleasure, still more amusement) emphasises our pilgrim status: always reminds, beckons, awakes desire. Our best havings are wantings.”2
“Our best havings are wantings.” Funny, it’s usually when things are darkest you hear someone say “I could just die!” Maybe we should say it when we feel closest to Heaven.
“Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!” – Luke 6:22
- Walter Hooper, ed., The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, Vol. III [New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007], 523.