” The problem is not that we have too much pleasure,
but that we are far too easily pleased with that which is second best..” C. S. Lewis
In the 1942 sermon, “The Weight of Glory” by C. S. Lewis, we are reminded that we await a future glory. His elegant prose reminds us that we have a longing to please God and be honored by him in paradise. The Apostle Paul equates our present suffering to “light and momentary afflictions” in comparison to the “glory that is to be revealed to us.”
Romans 8:18 –27
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27 And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18
17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
When I was walking through cancer treatments in the early 2000s, I needed to know that there was more to life than this present reality. I received great comfort from reading C. S. Lewis. It helped put my troubles into perspective. These excerpts remain some of my favorites. I had the entire sermon tucked under my desk pad at work and packed it with my treasures when I retired. I frequently referred to it when others were experiencing their own dark valleys.
To talk of this desire for our own far-off country almost feels like committing an indecency. It’s like ripping open an inconsolable secret in each of us. Our experience constantly suggests it, but it is a desire for something we have never actually experienced.
And our whole education is devoted to silencing this shy, persistent, inner voice, seeking to convince us that the earth is our home. But despite all efforts, we remain conscious of a desire which no natural happiness will satisfy.
In the end, that Face which is the delight or the terror of the universe must be turned upon each of us—either with the expression of conferring glory inexpressible or the expression of inflicting shame that can never be cured or disguised. To please God . . . to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness . . . to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son—all of this it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is. (C. S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”, sermon 1942)
Lord, this world is not our final home. We have a longing and hunger for much more. Our deepest desire is to “behold thy face in righteousness: [we] shall be satisfied, when [we] awake, with thy likeness.” (Ps.17:15). Amen