“What? You don’t know?” Ever have someone say that to you? The context is a topic in which people think you are omniscient. “You work on cars but don’t know what’s wrong?” “You work with computers but never heard of that program?” In my line of work it’s, “You know God but can’t explain why that tragedy happened?” People are surprised and dismayed. I understand.
In September 1956 Mary Willis Shelburne wrote to C. S. Lewis about some financial difficulties. The details are unknown but she evidently was in need of money and was unsuccessful in talking to the bank. Lewis was sympathetic but admitted,
“I can’t quite understand all the affair about the Bank, being intensely stupid about everything that might be called Business—but perhaps for that very reason all the more able to enter into your dismay. All that side of life is to me simply a terrifying mystery.”1
The same man who explained the great doctrines of the Christian faith in terms a layman understood (Mere Christianity), who enabled all of us to better understand how temptation works (Screwtape Letters), and who created a whole other universe (The Space Trilogy) and talking animals (Chronicles of Narnia) found business a “terrifying mystery.”
Don’t be discouraged. No one is good at everything.
“And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, ‘Am I God, to kill and to make alive?’” – 2 Kings 5:7.
- Walter Hooper, ed., The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, Vol. III (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007), 785.