A misty path in the woods

Have you ever had doubts at the very core of your life…. like C. S. Lewis did?

I was on Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ) staff for the one year between college and seminary.  It was uniquely important for the forty-five years since. I met my wife. I saw different ministries and ministry methods. I joined a good church. And, I knew for sure that I needed to go to seminary for a concentrated time of study to prepare for the rest of my life, wherever God would lead. Bill Bright, the founder of Crusade, had a keen ability to concisely express core truths. This is one of his basic principles that all of us on Crusade memorized:

Evangelism is sharing Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God

The night of doubt

As he walked home on the evening of January 12, 1951 C. S. Lewis was thinking about issues at the very center of his life. Mrs. Moore, who lived with him for over forty years, had just died. Had he kept a promise he had made in the summer of 1917?

The promise

On April 26, 1917, Lewis arrived at Oxford to begin his studies. He loved it. Because of the war there were only twelve students at University College, Oxford and only three entered with him.

Soon he joined the army officer training group and prepared to fight in the Great War. There he met Paddy Moore whose mother and eleven-year old sister had moved to Oxford to be near him. The casualty rate was so high that she wanted to see him as often as possible before he left for the front.

Lewis was made a second lieutenant and was shipped to France. He was on the front on his nineteenth birthday.

Lewis’ father was widowed when Lewis was ten years old and it affected him deeply. Paddy’s mother had been abandoned by his father who rarely sent support.

One night they promised each other that if only one of them survived the war he would take care of the dead comrade’s single parent.

Lewis was wounded in the war and Moore was killed.

Of his five close friends from officer training, Lewis was the only survivor.

The promise kept

When he got out of the hospital and resumed his studies at Oxford and eventually became a faculty member there, Mrs. Moore and Paddy’s sister Maureen lived with Lewis.

Later his brother joined them when he retired as a Major from the army.

She lived with Lewis until she died over forty years later.

Unexpected Results

When Mrs. Moore died in 1951, Lewis was at the height of his academic and literary powers. He was famous as a BBC speaker during World War 2 in talks that were published as Mere Christianity.

He had published over twenty books including:

The Problem of Pain

Miracles

Mere Christianity

English Literature in the Sixteenth Century Excluding Drama. (a volume of the Oxford History of English literature)

The three volumes of the Space Trilogy: Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and

That Hideous Strength

The Screwtape Letters

The Great Divorce

And, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

He would later publish seventeen more books including the six remaining volumes of the Chronicles of Narnia

He was world famous. Most days, he received letters from readers. Every month and sometimes weekly he heard from people who had been converted to Christianity through his books.

BUT, Mrs. Moore’s soul seemed unaffected by living with him for forty years.

She was the model for Mrs. Beaver with her beautiful hospitality in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. But she was also the model for the sharp-tongued old lady at the breakfast table in Screwtape Letters.

He reached many but he never reached her.

Evangelism is sharing Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God

Questions for consideration:

Have you ever served others and the results were unexpectedly life-changing, for you and for them?

Have you ever served hard but saw absolutely no results?