I recently watched a documentary on C.S. Lewis’ life. I was astonished. Having fallen in love with his writings, especially The Chronicles of Narnia, I had no idea the background story. I didn’t know his mom was the strong influence for Christ in his life. I didn’t know his mom had died when he was 9 years old, leaving the whole family crushed and grieving for many years. I didn’t know that after her death, his dad sent he and his brother off to boarding schools. I didn’t know that in his grief and pain of losing his mother and the rejection he felt from his father, he abandoned his hope in Christ. I didn’t know he was sent to a horrific boarding school and abused daily by a mentally ill schoolmaster. When his father finally realized the boys were telling the truth in their desperate letters for help and moved them out of that hell, the school closed and the schoolmaster ended up being committed. I didn’t know that during that time his attraction to the occult and magic was finding root and blooming. I didn’t know that one of his tutors was a self-proclaimed witch whom he adored and held on to her every word. I didn’t know that he searched constantly for a place to belong. I didn’t know.
It was at Oxford that C.S. Lewis met J.R.R. Tolkien and they became friends. They met regularly at a pub called the “The Eagle and Child” with others to discuss their writings and their philosophies on life. It was Tolkien who inspired C.S. Lewis to revisit his childhood faith in Jesus Christ. And the rest, as they say, is history. The “history” part I knew but it’s the backstory that makes it all astounding. So many twists and turns; so many “what if’s.” It made me realize that no matter how dark a situation seems, no matter how far a person seems to get from God, they really aren’t that far from God at all.
Had I met C.S. Lewis in his “dark” days I would have easily written him off as completely lost, perhaps without hope. Based on his opinions and actions at the time I might have considered him unreachable, unteachable, and perhaps even unsavable. In judgment and pride, I, or anyone else, could have easily written him off. And we would have been completely wrong. There is no path too far from the hand of God. If I gained anything from hearing his life story, I gained this: it’s never too late, people are never without hope and most definitely never unsavable.
When I look at my own life, my children, circumstances, others around me who don’t yet know Christ, I am reminded of the backstory of C.S. Lewis and I realize that there is no room for panic, no place for fear. God has a way. I have learned to pray for my children and others in a more specific way. Not “fix this and fix that,” but more “bind him to Your will, Father” and “cause Your plan for their life to succeed.” I pray targeted prayers on their behalf: “In Jesus’ Name, I push back the intents of the enemy against them” and “keep Truth, Your Truth, in front of them today.” This is how I fight for them and for me.
I don’t know who might have been praying for C.S. Lewis as a boy in that torturous boarding school or as a young man under the tutelage of a witch, but I have no doubt that his mother put in plenty of prayers for he and his brother before her untimely death. How encouraging it is to know that every prayer counts. Every whispered, cried, shouted, groaned prayer, no matter when it was uttered, is answered. It may take moments, years or a lifetime, but it counts. Never doubt that…and keep praying. Someone is counting on it. Indeed, it was the prayers of my parents, grandparents and others that brought me through my tragic life as well.
Thank you for praying for me. You know who you are.