Letter from Lewis on Suffering
Recently I have been reading through C.S. Lewis’ “Letters to an American Lady”. This is just a collection of a correspondence that Lewis had with a woman in America, whom he would never meet in person. These letters would also be found in one, if not all, of the 3 volumes containing his collected letters. While reading through these letters Lewis wrote to his pen pal in the U.S. I stumbled upon a terrific letter dealing with issue of suffering. Here is Lewis’ response via letter:
I am most sorry to hear about your recent experiences. Though I am not doctor enough nor psychologist enough to understand them, I can see that they must have been very unpleasant indeed. You may be very sure of my continued, and increased, prayers. One of the many reasons for wishing to be a better Christian is that, if one were, one’s prayers for others might be more effectual. Things do come all together and so quickly in life, don’t they? Of course we have all been taught what to do with suffering – offer it in Christ to God as our little, little share of Christ’s sufferings – but it is so hard to do. I am afraid I can better imagine, than really enter into, this. I suppose that if one loves a person enough one would actually wish to share every part of his life; and I suppose the great saints thus really want to share the divine suffering and that is how they can actually desire pain. But this is far beyond me. To grin and bear it and (in some feeble, desperate way) to trust is the utmost most of us can manage. One tries to take a lesson not only from the saints but from the beasts: how well a sick dog trusts one if one has to do things that hurt it! And this, I know, in some measure you will be able to do.
Well I hope your next news will be better. Meanwhile, may our Lord support you as only He can.
Taken from Letters to an American Lady by C.S. Lewis, ed. by Clyde S. Klby