I don't know why God allows cancer. But I do know that we should pray in the face of illness and death. And while I've appreciated the many prayers for healing that I've received, I sense that often they could be enhanced by combining them with prayers of lament.
I conclude this series with the final purpose for suffering as presented by this Oxford-trained specialist in ancient and medieval literature and philosophy: Suffering can lead us to hope in God's fulfillment.
As I prepare to give a talk at Columbia University in the upcoming weeks on the subject of Lewis and the Purposes of Suffering, it seemed wise to return to the topic and revise it in light of what new comes to mind.
Even if you love your work, you might not always love your Mondays. Last week, when my own Monday dragged a little, I came up with this list to jump-start the day. It helped. May it now put a spark in your day.
I know a man who had a great divorce -- one that blessed his life and the lives of others immeasurably. And, strangely enough, this divorce actually improved his marriage. At the time, I didn't quite understand it. But now I think I want a divorce like his.
One of the primary functions of religion is to help us live in the present, that is to stop and immerse in the power of the moment. One of the other functions is to pull us out of the moment to see the bigger picture.
For many years, C.S. Lewis struggled heavily with the argument for intelligent design. "One of the things that may surprise viewers," said John West, editor of The Magician's Twin, "is just how angry Lewis's atheism could be in his earlier years."
You pretend that God is there beside you listening with utmost attention to your questions and concerns. Eventually, the game becomes what is experienced as an actual conversation -- or maybe becomes an actual conversation.