Classy Quotes Wednesday–C.S. Lewis–A GRIEF OBSERVED

C.S. Lewis and wife, Joy Davidman Gresham

It seems that grief comes in different incarnations for each of us. Just this week, I read a post by Mary DeMuth about feeling abandoned by God when she moved to France: It’s easy to make light of this grief, but Mary shared on my FB wall that she even suffered PTSD from some events that occurred there.

In A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis chronicled his own grief when his wife, Joy Davidman Gresham, died of bone cancer. I wonder if we don’t all reach this point in life, when we question the goodness of God. This quote is very raw, yet something many of us have felt at one point or another, if we’re honest.

 “Meanwhile, where is God?…Go to him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away…There are no lights in the windows. It might be an empty house. Was it ever inhabited? It seemed so once. And that seeming was as strong as this. What can this mean? Why is He so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of trouble?…

Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not ‘So there’s no God after all,’ but ‘So this is what God’s really like. Deceive yourself no longer.'”


I know this seems hopeless. I seriously debated posting only this quote, without the rest of the book (hope you can check it out and read it with me!). But I have a question for you today:

****Have you ever felt this way? And how did you find the strength to keep going? Please share with those who might be feeling exactly the way Lewis did!****

20 thoughts on “Classy Quotes Wednesday–C.S. Lewis–A GRIEF OBSERVED

  1. I've felt this way many times throughout my life. As a child growing up in an abusive and often violent household. As a teenager having to let go of my dreams when my parents' divorce meant the end of financial security for my mom and myself. As an adult dealing with the deaths — in quick succession — of the two dearest people on earth to me. As an employee being laid off twice in two years and facing months on end with no job prospects and no unemployment benefits on which to rely.On so many occasions, life has leveled me and brought me to such depths of despair that it seemed impossible to keep going. I cried out to God and begged for His help, but I heard no response. The door to heaven seemed to be shut and bolted tight against my pleas. But I've come to realize that while He may have seemed silent at the time, the Lord was there all along, even though I couldn't hear His voice. Just when I thought I could fall no further into the abyss, I discovered that His arms were holding me up in the darkness, keeping me safe and giving me the strength to overcome the suffering, the heartache and yes, the doubt. During my most painful hours, the words that have always been of the most comfort to me come from Proverbs 31:25. "Strength and honor are her clothing and she shall rejoice in time to come." I live by that verse and hold fast to its promise. Rejoicing may not always be a part of this life, but it most certainly will be part of the next if our faith and trust is in the Lord.

  2. I love honesty. I think God loves to hear our hearts unedited. I struggle with feeling alone this way. I reach back into what I know to be true. That God never leaves us. I trust he has something deeper planned for my heart, that he knows what he is doing when you feel the dark night of the soul. Thank you for sharing this, I think it's important for us as Christians to be vulnerable and real 🙂

  3. Beth, what an uplifting and moving story of your life. Thank you for sharing that verse. And Lisa, yes, I am so thankful that CS Lewis was able to voice these thoughts for us. Just like many others in the Bible, from Moses to David to Paul, who were very "real" when they pled with God.Thank you all for commenting!

  4. Oh, A Grief Observed is such an amazing book. Probably because so many of us have felt that way…I remember when I was a teenager and a lot of bad things were happening to people close to me. I thought, "If only I didn't believe in God, I would kill myself right now." And I honestly felt annoyed that I had the faith I did. It was only by abandoning myself to God's love and mercy that I got through it. I KNEW God loved me because I had signs of it: beauty in nature, my family, my friends, music… I didn't feel His love at all then, but I knew it was there and made the decision to give myself up to it. And there were so many people to help me–I'm sure that is one of the way God shows His love. We need to reach out for help and to help each other, and that is how we get through this up and down "waiting room" that is life!

  5. When I was in the darkest pit of depression, a friend of mine came over to "have tea". Uh huh. Sure. She came to talk to me, to scope me out to see if I was going to hurt myself or worse. She knows me well, I know her well. She knew the outfit she wore to the visit would significantly impact the strength of her words and the way I heard them.She wore her police uniform. She used her game face and her interrogation skills to draw out of me what she definitely knew, but didn't have the evidence for.When one of your friends, who you've shopped with, gone to lunch with, goofed around with…is wearing a loaded weapon? YOU LISTEN!It was chatty for a bit, then she sat up straight."Jennifer, tell me officially, look at me! Are you going to hurt yourself or the kids?"The face, the look, the tone of voice, the gun, the baton, the pepper spray, the badge and all the stories she's told me…they all hit home."No, Angela, I won't. I promise."To know that someone would look me in the eye and challenge me that way? I knew God sent the Constable.

  6. Wow, such a moving quote by C.S. Lewis. There have been times in my life where I've wondered if God was playing favorites with people, and I was one of those getting the short end of life's stick. I knew what the Scriptures say, that there are no favorites with God, but it still felt like everyone else had the life O'Reilly and mine was going terribly wrong. In times that we feel abandoned by God–when prayers bounce off the ceiling and we feel truly alone, I believe that God is the closest to us. That although we can't feel His presence or comfort, or hear Him, He's still right there beside us. We're not meant to understand everything, only to trust Him or have faith. And in the darkest times of our life, that faith is tested and purified, and ultimately brings glory to Him. 🙂

  7. Thank you for that comforting thought, Gwendolyn. I confess I've been working through these feelings lately myself. I know things in my head, but it's hard when you can't feel any comforting presence sometimes.

  8. Just talked about this in our Beth Moore study on Deuteronomy this morning. She was talking about the verse about loving God with all your mind, soul, and strength. Then she brought up the point about how often we don't just feel like God doesn't love us, we think He really dislikes us. She then pointed to I John 4:19and said it all comes down to, "We love Him because He first loved us." It was a good lesson. His love is always there no matter what we "feel" or "think."

  9. Yes, Adam…I'm hoping the book will get a bit cheerier as we go on, which is generally what life tends to do. And yes, it's definitely a choice to understand that He loves us no matter what. Harder to process that He loves us even more than our earthly father/husband/friends love us!

  10. Heather,Thanks for posting that quote just the way you did — raw.And, yes, I've felt that way.Based on the other comments, I'm not alone in wondering what God was doing — and in wondering just who God was. Really.I could tell you the whole story, but this is a comment box, not a soap box or a magazine column or even your kitchen table.So, suffice to say, I found that God's love for me is bigger than my doubts of him.

  11. Heather,I'm reading this 'theme' everywhere these days – and I've come to the conclusion that this is one of the benefits of being part of the Body. So often, we don't share our TRUE sadness, and then suddenly, we look around us and find that we're fighting alone. But when we DO buddy up to someone and say, "Hey, I'm in pain here. It's so dark, and I can't see all the way around myself right now. Can we cover each others' backs for a while?" then two become one. When another wounded warrior comes along, three become one. And suddenly, we're NOT alone! Then someone hollers, "Look! There's the Captain!" And we all cheer because we're in this together, fighting under the banner of the greatest Warrior of them all.I'm so glad I've got you at my back. Or side. Or wherever you want to stand. Love you,Becky

  12. Love that thought, Beth, and come on over to my email anytime ( and tell me the whole story! And Becky…so glad you have my back, too–what a great picture of us fighting for the Captain.

  13. Thank you for posting this quote, Heather. It made me think of John 6:29 “This is the work of God: to believe in the one whom he has sent." As Christians, our only job is to abide in Him through faith. My faith has always guided me through the most difficult of times.

  14. Thought provoking quote!When my dad died of cancer it brought me to my knee's and had me questioning the character of God. I was angry with God and I let Him know it.You know what I learned…God is big enough to handle my anger. It didn't phase Him. He loved me through it and when I came out of the blackness I was stronger for having gone through the pain. How did I keep going? Really, what alternative did I have? Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and eventually you walk out of the pain. (actually the pain is always there, but it lessens and you learn to deal with it. the only way through a trial is just that- through it!)

  15. Jill, yes, sometimes it just comes down to holding onto your faith..and TC, you're right. God is big enough to handle it. I think that for Christians, we might not doubt He exists, but we doubt the goodness/rightness of His plans for us.

  16. I found this post while looking for things to read as I was having a down night.I can totally relate to the quote. I haven't read the book, but the quote speaks volumes about the emotions one experiences when grieving. In my current grief situation I have learned that grief comes in all forms and for different reasons.At the age of 13 I lost my mother, I for sure thought God had given up on me and I didn't know what I thought about him. Just 7 months ago, 17 years later I lost my dad. It was at this point that I really began to understand death and grief.It was also at this point that I knew that God was all I had. Knowing that God makes no mistakes was what got me through wondering what I could have done differently and if I could even make it through this. I am truly an orphan now, no parents but I have my faith in God and that is the only thing that I know will not fail me. While I will never understand why at the age of 30 I am parentless and in this world, sometimes feeling alone, I do know that His word said He would always be with me and that comfort is what gets me through.I'm glad to see conversations like this going on.

  17. Thank you so much, Anonymous. I think we need to help each other through these things, and sometimes the best help is just talking about those inexplicable emotions we go through. I am so sorry you have lost your parents. But you're right, God does watch over the orphans and widows and you are His child. God bless you and thanks for stopping by this blog!

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