I read C. S. Lewis’ A Grief Observed this week. I was struck by the utter sense of loss Lewis felt without his wife. Here is a most intelligent man, one of the brightest minds in the 20th century, completely befuddled by the loss of his dearest. No amount of philosophy could console him. No amount of literature could capture him. No amount of theology could embrace him. It seems that in those moments he was simply lost, unclear, unfocused, undone. It is fascinating, is it not, how little our learning helps us in times of extreme emotional loss. Feelings overwhelm the soul, drowning any intellectual framework which might have attempted to provide the support we so desperately need.
As he healed Lewis realized that he didn’t want his wife to come back to him only to die again. He didn’t want her to leave perfection to return to this place of imperfection. As badly as he desired to be reunited with his wife, his focus was the eschaton rather than the present. Selfishly we always want things to be as there were before, but we know this cannot be. Life cannot be as it was before. There is no going back, only pushing forward. Our faith is the final push forward for us, the push to the place where all things are new. This is our hope. Even in times of grief when our soul will not be consoled, this is our hope. We hope in the ever after. We hope in resurrection. We hope in Jesus. This is our hope.