Once upon a time, a long time ago, a child’s mother became sick, very sick. She knocked on death’s door, and death waited to claim what he thought was his. “Why my mother, Lord?” the child prayed. But the prayer, it seemed, wasn’t answered.

“Cancer, and cancer, and cancer. My mother, my father, my wife. I wonder who is next in the queue.”[1] So C.S. Lewis, one of the greatest Christian apologists of the twentieth century, lamented the deaths of his loved ones. Lewis was no stranger either to suffering or to loss caused by suffering: he was abused by a mentally unstable schoolmaster as a boy and injured in World War I as a young man, and throughout his life he watched close family members die from cancer. According to Nietzsche, what did not kill Lewis should have made him stronger — but what the existentialist philosopher could have never understood is that Lewis not only found joy, but indeed discovered it because of his suffering.

For Lewis, suffering and joy are intimately bound together. His most personal expression of the connection between suffering and joy is found in his Narnia installment of The Magician’s Nephew, where his main character, Digory, must accept his and his mother’s suffering before he can experience the joy of his mother’s healing. Lewis further develops the connection between suffering and joy in Till We Have Faces through his depiction of the “Way of Exchange,” whereby believers literally bear each other’s pain. Suffering is thus a molding process that reveals to each of us the one facet of God’s character that we see better than anyone else, and that Lewis believes we are meant to communicate to others throughout eternity. Although suffering and earthly joy are temporal, they have everlasting effects, as suffering draws us closer to Christ and one another by leading us into our Trinitarian Lord’s eternal self-giving dance and community.

Suffering as Pain, and Joy as Sehnsucht and Peace

Before delving further into Lewis’s thoughts, several remarks on the meanings of the words “suffering” and “joy” are in order. As perhaps the most universal experience of humankind, “suffering” may be defined in short order. According to Lewis in The Problem of Pain, two varieties of pain exist. The first kind comprises sensations such as the “faint ache” in our bodies after exercising that may actually be pleasant at this low degree of intensity.[2] If the intensity increases, however, these sensations enter the realm of Lewis’s second category of pain.[3] This second type of pain is broader in nature and composed of any experiences we dislike, whether physical or mental, that are inflicted upon us either by other human beings or our circumstances and environment, and these experiences constitute suffering.[4] Any combination of these sources of suffering can be severe, but some are more agonizing than others. The cruelty or betrayal of a close friend, family member, or spouse torments us more than a small bruise or papercut; conversely, a diagnosis of cancer and its subsequent treatment are far more excruciating than a passing unkind remark from an acquaintance. The only other brief observation necessary here is that, regardless of the form it takes, suffering is at its worst when it is seemingly undeserved, as in the case of Job.

Turning now to the definition of “joy,” Lewis used the term in two ways, one more technical than the other, and this essay uses a combination of the two meanings. In his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, Lewis defined “Joy” — which he capitalized to indicate its technical meaning — as “an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction.”[5] For Lewis, Joy is a longing, which he dubbed sehnsucht, the German word for “longing,” that functions as a “signpost” to God insofar as it gives us “news from a country we have never yet visited.”[6] [7] Noteworthy is that Lewis’s definition of Joy does not include the absence of pain or suffering; indeed, he embraces it, writing, “[I]t might almost equally be called a particular kind of unhappiness or grief,” and calling it “the stab, the pain, the inconsolable longing.”[8] For Lewis, Joy abolishes the distinction between “having and wanting,” because in Joy, “to have is to want and to want is to have.”[9] In an attempt to experience Joy again and again, Lewis sought to manipulate conditions to produce it, but to no avail, as he “woke from building the temple to find that the God had flown.”[10] He eventually recognized that trying too hard to possess joy was a “fatal determination.”[11] The futility of this search, Lewis found, lies in the fact that Joy is “never a possession,” but a “reminder”; it is “always a desire for something longer ago or further away or still ‘about to be.’”[12] Through the pain of longing, Joy incorporates suffering into its very nature, for despite the desirability of sehnsucht, its intensity paradoxically elevates it from Lewis’s first category of simple pain to the second level of suffering. The Lewisian definition of Joy or sehnsucht thus stands in contrast to the world’s popular idea of joy, which does not include any hurt, negativity, or suffering.

Lewis also used the word “joy” in a less technical manner to denote our confidence in the Lord’s goodness, grace, and mercy, and the unlimited enjoyment and peace we find in heaven. In The Horse and His Boy, when the horse Hwin gives herself over to Aslan, he replies, “‘Dearest daughter . . .  I knew you would not be long in coming to me. Joy shall be yours.’”[13] As Aslan is a symbol for Jesus, Lewis directly associates our submission to Christ with joy. The reassurance and certainty we have in Christ foreshadow the “utterly spontaneous” nature of our eternal life in heaven, as Lewis writes in Letters to Malcolm, where we will experience none of sin’s toils and trials.[14] Describing heaven’s “boundless freedom with order,” which on earth we glimpse in our “[d]ance and game,” Lewis concludes, “Joy is the serious business of Heaven.”[15]

Lewis’s two definitions of “joy” thus overlap in sharing the qualities of heaven by reference either to our longing for our heavenly home or the direct experience of the Christian’s eternal destination. The word “joy” as used in this essay is therefore a combination of Lewis’s technical definition of Joy or sehnsucht as a type of suffering through longing for heaven and his broader suggestion that joy is a peace we find in being in our relationship with Christ. For purposes of this essay’s argument, joy can never be divorced from suffering because the earthly sehnsucht we experience in longing for heaven is necessarily a prelude to the full communion with Christ we will experience in heaven. With this definition in mind, we proceed to a consideration of Lewis’s expressions of joy and suffering in his fiction.

Drinking the Cup of Suffering

The Magician’s Nephew, the creation story of Narnia, is bursting with life: an evil magician meets his match and comic comeuppance, a witch’s cosmic invasion of our planet leads to an uproarious culture clash, a cabby and his wife become king and queen of the newly created world of Narnia, and readers discover the origin of the mysterious lamppost in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. But despite the book’s apparent cheerfulness, a grave undertone forms the backbone of the plot, as Lewis relentlessly explores the rawest pain portrayed in the Narniad: watching a loved one suffering through an illness. This Genesis tale is, in fact, preoccupied with death. The mother of Digory, the main character, is terminally ill, and her impending death looms over the story. Digory’s desperation to save her permeates the installment. Although he distrusts his Uncle Andrew, the old magician’s rings eventually prove useful; they allow him to discover Narnia, where Digory dares to hope a cure can be found for his mother and his prayers to save her answered.

The exquisite grief wrought upon the human psyche in witnessing a loved one undergo an excruciating illness was one Lewis himself knew all too well, as Lewis’s own mother was diagnosed with cancer and died when he was nine. In Surprised by Joy, Lewis describes the pain her suffering and death caused him: he and his brother, Warren, “lost her gradually as she was gradually withdrawn from our life into the hands of nurses and delirium and morphia,” and their “whole existence changed into something alien and menacing.”[16] Lewis’s prayers for the restoration of his mother’s health went unanswered. His grief over her death was so total that he compared it to the legendary loss of utopia: “It was sea and islands now; the great continent had sunk like Atlantis.”[17] Although the similarities between Lewis’s and Digory’s mothers are undeniable, it would be an insult to Lewis’s dedication to his literary craft to say he rewrote the story of his own mother’s death in the miraculous healing of Digory’s mother as a simple tale of wish-fulfillment. It would be an equal disservice to Lewis’s intelligence, however, to suggest he did not recognize the obvious parallels between the illness of his mother and that of his own fictional creation. The only conclusion fair to both Lewis’s talent and capacity for self-awareness is that in Digory’s story, Lewis chose to repackage the suffering he and his mother experienced in a manner that would impart a vital truth: the inextricability of joy and suffering. In this retelling, Lewis illustrates that in this world, the inescapable nature of sin binds suffering and joy to each other because choosing to suffer, and to suffer well, is a prerequisite to conforming to Christ and receiving joy.

Lewis, however, does not shy away from portraying the difficulty of those decisions that put us on the path of suffering and joy. For although the choice to avoid suffering appeals to our twin desires to control our fate and to rely on our own knowledge instead of God’s, in the example of the witch Jadis, Digory discovers the truth of Aslan’s words that “pluck[ing] and eat[ing] fruits at the wrong time and in the wrong way” can never lead us to joy.[18] Rather, they only lead us straight into the torments and “despair” of hell, as Jadis demonstrates when she is sentenced to an unending life of misery for seizing for herself a miraculous apple that is meant to be picked only for others.[19] To find the Christian suffering that leads to joy, Digory must refuse to give his mother an apple from the same magical tree and instead retrieve it for Aslan, whose “big, bright tears” over Digory’s mother are so great that Digory believes “the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself.”[20] After Digory makes the agonizing decision not to steal the apple for his mother, Aslan explains to Digory that although the stolen apple would have healed his mother, it would not have been “‘to [his] joy or hers,’” such that they would eventually “‘have looked back and said it would have been better to die in that illness.’”[21] At this, Digory gives up all hope of saving his mother. But Digory’s decision not to reject the path of suffering bears literal fruit in the form of joy, as Aslan whispers, “‘That is what would have happened, child, with a stolen apple. It is not what will happen now. What I give you now will bring joy,’” and commands Digory to pluck another apple — a gift to cure his mother.[22] Her singing soon fills the house again, the curtains are drawn back to flood the house with light, and Digory’s father permanently returns home from India.[23] Through suffering that gave rise to joy, Digory has regained his family.

In the restoration of Digory’s mother’s health and of his family’s unity, Lewis provides a picture of joy by portraying both the healing our bodies will receive in their resurrected form and of the full union with God and our fellow believers we will finally experience in heaven, where the Garden of Eden will be renewed for eternity. In a world beset by sin, however, our only road to joy cuts through the valley of the shadow of death, through which we walk in our own suffering and in Christ’s redemptive suffering for the world, an example we as His followers are called to imitate. The world’s cookie-cutter notions of joy that reject suffering are profoundly mistaken, as they embrace a meaningless world plastered with the sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns of superficial, fleeting pleasure. Like a toddler’s drawing composed only of these primary colors and childish images, their sugary nature lacks substance and fails to account for the rich depths of reality. We must reject the shallow belief that joy necessarily precludes suffering for the same reason we reject a preschooler’s scribbles as fine art: they present a flattened picture of the world devoid of the three-dimensional intricacies and hard truths about the necessary relationship between suffering and joy. This view does not suggest the heretical notion that God has a sadistic streak and universally requires suffering to produce joy, because we as Christians know suffering is born out of sin’s warping of both human nature and God’s good creation. Rather, the Christian belief in the necessity of suffering to the experience of joy embraces the reality that in our broken world, suffering is a necessary component of joy, for through Christ’s suffering God re-wove the ripped shreds of the tapestry of His creation. In The Magician’s Nephew, Lewis shows us that just as Digory endured his mother’s suffering in her illness and in his own suffering from the virtual certainty of losing her, and as Christ bore the cross, so we must also drink the bitter cup of suffering prepared for us if we are to attain joy through learning to trust wholly in God’s goodness and to enter into full communion with Him.

The choice to accept this suffering, however, can be excruciating. As Lewis knew when he wrote Digory’s story, the anguish of watching a loved one suffer a debilitating illness is a unique agony unto itself for the observer. Those of us who have done so sympathize with Digory’s struggle between choosing to bring the apple back to Aslan and stealing it for his mother, between submitting to suffering in our trust that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and attempting to evade it by using our limited knowledge. For us, the cruel demand of Jadis when she questions what Aslan has done for Digory that Digory should turn down the opportunity to save his mother rings horribly and sinfully true. But to force our own solutions upon the problems created by sin, as Jadis does when she eats the apple to circumvent natural death and gain immortality, is to impose our own imperfect understanding and will upon our lives. In seeking joy without accepting the suffering that leads to it, we fashion an idol out of the absence of suffering. A lack of suffering, however, does not lead to joy because as a vacuum, it is devoid of substance. Rather, walking with Christ gives form and meaning to the most universal feature of the human condition — suffering — and allows us to discover joy, as He leads us on the via dolorosa as both our scout and our fellow sufferer. The refusal to accept the necessity of suffering does not insulate us from its effects, because suffering comes for all. Instead, it only prevents us from participating in the suffering of Christ and therefore of others, which in turn isolates us from God, from others, and from joy.

How Suffering Shapes Us: The Way of Exchange

Once upon a time, not as long ago, the same child became sick, very sick. Chronic illness came calling for her, as he had for her mother when she cheated death. “Why such a heavy burden for one so young, Great Physician?” the mother prayed. But the prayer, it seemed, wasn’t answered.

Turning now from a discussion of the necessity of suffering to how suffering produces both joy and good fruit in our lives by conforming our characters to Christ’s example, we see that suffering mysteriously sows the seeds of joy because it teaches us to pray, Lord, let me take his place, or Why not me instead? Lewis explains that Christians must involve themselves in the “dance” of “self-giving” of our Trinitarian Lord, as the three Persons of the Trinity give themselves to each other, and Christ gives Himself eternally to us and back to Himself in the “generation . . . [and] sacrifice[] of the Word.[24] Comparing the Trinity to a fountain, he says if we are to receive the gift of eternal life, we must jump into the water, metaphorically speaking, by participating in the Trinity.[25] That participation, as we see from an examination of the Christian life, must necessarily come by the way of suffering. The only way to learn the steps of the dance of self-giving that binds us to our neighbors and to God is to submit to suffering, as Christ did on our behalf on the cross. Although we usually regard the suffering we undergo as our own, a close consideration of Christ’s example proves otherwise: He suffered on our behalf because the punishment He bore was for our sins, and Paul reminds us in Galatians 6:2 that we are to do the same: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”[26]

This substitutionary suffering allows us to enter into the “Way of Exchange,” more formally known as “co-inherence,” a doctrine propounded by Lewis’s friend, Charles Williams. In the Way of Exchange, Williams believed, we bear one another’s pain, because by accepting the suffering of others we literally relieve them of certain fears or physical pain.[27] In his last novel, Till We Have Faces, Lewis portrays the Way of Exchange when in the final vision of her life, his main character, Orual, is given the gift of understanding that she bore most of the pain her sister Psyche (whom she had previously wronged), had to undergo in completing the excruciating tasks to end her exile.[28] In a case of life imitating art, Lewis himself experienced the Way of Exchange. Lewis informed a friend, Nevill Coghill, during the illness of his wife, Joy, that “he had been allowed to ease [her] suffering” when her pain, which her doctors “despaired” of treating, entered his legs instead: “‘You mean’ (I said) ‘that her pain left her, and that you felt it for her in your body?’ ‘Yes’, he said, ‘in my legs. It was crippling. But it relieved hers.’”[29] He further wrote in a letter to another friend, Sheldon Vanauken, that during his attack of osteoporosis,

[Joy’s] cancerous bones have rebuilt themselves in a way quite unusual and Joy can now walk. . . .  [W]hile I (for no discoverable reason) was losing the chalcium [sic] from my bones, Joy, who needed it much more, was gaining it in hers. One dreams of a Charles Williams substitution! Well, never was a gift more gladly given; but one must not be fanciful.[30]

Although Lewis’s bearing of his wife’s pain is surely highly unusual, and bearing the literal pains of another as he did is not granted to each individual, it is nevertheless a universal principle that we can suffer each other’s burdens only if we love our neighbors as ourselves with the Christ-like agape love we gain from being in communion with Him. Suffering is thus our instructor in the dance of self-giving by helping to form the basis for our relationships with Christ and with others.

The Force that Molds Our Souls

Thus far, we have seen Lewis in his fiction demonstrate the inevitability of suffering to joy, as recognizing the necessity of suffering is both a simultaneous acknowledgement of the inescapable nature of sin’s consequences in the world and an acceptance of its status as our teacher in becoming more Christ-like. The time-bound nature of human beings dictates that our earthly longing and suffering in sehnsucht must necessarily precede heaven and the full joy we will experience there. Other than this necessarily temporal relation between joy and suffering, however, as yet it is unclear how or why sehnsucht inevitably links suffering to joy, for in Surprised by Joy, Lewis does not identify the exact object of the longing of sehnsucht. Clearly, he locates it outside himself and believes it is essential to drawing us out of our selfishness, as he writes, “Joy itself, considered simply as an event in my own mind, turned out to be of no value at all. All the value lay in that of which Joy was the desiring. And that object, quite clearly, was no state of my own mind or body at all. . . . I thus understood that in deepest solitude there is a road right of the self[.]”[31] Nevertheless, he does not attempt to define it further. By connecting his thoughts on sehnsucht to certain ideas about heaven he expresses in The Problem of Pain, however, we may discover a more precise definition of what Lewis believes is the object of our longing when we experience sehnsucht and therefore come to a fuller understanding of why suffering is necessary for joy.

For Lewis in The Problem of Pain, the multivalent nature of God’s character and the corresponding individuality of each human soul result in the intimate connection between sehnsucht and suffering, which in turn lays the foundation of the dance of self-giving that forms our communion with God and fellow believers. Drawing on the imagery of a lock and key, Lewis believes we as individuals are unique locks that the myriad facets of God fit like keys to give us “utter satisfaction”: “Your soul has a curious shape because it is a hollow made to fit a particular swelling in the infinite contours of the Divine substance, or a key to unlock one of the doors in the house with many mansions.”[32] Lewis connects the individuality of each soul to sehnsucht by describing our place in heaven in The Problem of Pain with almost exactly the same language from Surprised by Joy about the evasiveness of Joy when he attempted to experience it again and again:

Your place in heaven will seem to be made for you and you alone, because you were made for it — made for it stitch by stitch as a glove is made for a hand. . . .  All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. . . . The thing I am speaking of is not an experience. You have experienced only the want of it. The thing itself has never actually been embodied in any thought, or image, or emotion. . . . [I]f you sit down to brood on the desire and attempt to cherish it, the desire itself will evade you.[33]

The uniqueness of our place in heaven creates sehnsucht because it is the mysterious object of our longing arising from the one attribute of God’s character that He allows us, through our individuality, to know more intimately than all others do:

[I]t is also said ‘To him that overcometh I will give a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.’ What can be more a man’s own than this new name which even in eternity remains a secret between God and him? And what shall we take this secrecy to mean? Surely, that each of the redeemed shall forever know and praise some one aspect of the Divine beauty better than any other creature can.[34]

As does sehnsucht, our individual knowledge of God “summons [us] away from the self” by teaching us to focus on Christ and others as we seek to share our knowledge about Him with our neighbors.[35] Therefore, Lewis believes, it also forms the basis for community among believers:

Why else were individuals created, but that God, loving all infinitely, should love each differently? And this difference, so far from impairing, floods with meaning the love of all blessed creatures for one another, the communion of the saints. . . . Heaven is a city, and a Body, because the blessed remain eternally different: a society, because each has something to tell all the others[.][36]

But for each of us to be made into the distinctive locks Lewis describes that can be opened only by God, or individuals capable of knowing and communicating a unique aspect of God, He must first shape and form us, like the potter with the clay. Lewis alludes to this process in The Problem of Pain when he refers to “[t]he mould in which a key is made,” but he refuses to speculate on the specific nature of the mold itself, writing, “I am considering not how, but why, He makes each soul unique.”[37] Yet given Lewis’s extensive writings on suffering as we have discussed here, suffering seems a highly probable candidate for the force he believes molds us into the locks that fit the keys of each of God’s attributes. On this note, we should observe the word for Christ’s suffering, the “Passion,” is derived from the Latin verb for “suffer,” patior, which as a deponent verb has an active meaning but takes a passive form — in other words, although the subject is an active actor, the verb form takes that of the passive voice. This unusual verb as used for “suffer” in Latin reflects the ancients’ belief that a “passion” was an intense emotion inflicted upon the individual, such as that Christ experienced in the physical and mental torture inflicted by his Roman captors. This concept of suffering as a force afflicting us through the individual circumstances of our lives accords well with Lewis’s belief that we are each molded for a specific purpose.

Suffering and Joy in the Already and the Not Yet

In light of the centrality of suffering to Lewis’s beliefs about the Christian life, we may view suffering as an essential molding process God uses to reveal a unique aspect of Himself to us. As we have seen, we in turn are meant to share that knowledge with others, and in eternity Lewis believes we accomplish this task “by means whereof earthly art and philosophy are but clumsy imitations.”[38] In our earthly life, however, these “clumsy imitations” are our only means of communication, and we must strive to do our best with them as we start to taste heaven through the sanctification process and begin to communicate our “unique vision”of God to others.[39] Therefore, we as Christians must embrace suffering as part of our art, if we wish to communicate truly and learn the tune of the joy that we are to sing in eternity. To write the great American novel, the writer must pen dozens of drafts; to create a masterpiece like the Mona Lisa, the artist must paint hundreds of other portraits; to perform at Carnegie Hall, the piano virtuoso must practice at a thousand recitals. For any artist to reproduce and lovingly convey every detail of the unique vision in his mind’s eye that he burns for the rest of the world to see also, he must be trained in his craft and refine it until he reaches perfection. So we, too, must rehearse in this life, both by suffering through this world’s trials and by producing art to communicate the lessons it teaches us, if we are to be prepared for that glorious moment in paradise when we will begin to sing our unique, eternal praises of the Ruler of the cosmos, our Lord and King, our Creator and Redeemer.

Thus, if self-giving is the dance that binds us together, then suffering is our instructor, and the circumstances of our lives form the grand ballroom where we meet each other, our dance partners. In this earthly dress rehearsal in a world broken by sin, the distinct circumstances of our individual sufferings teach us the first words of that language of praise and the first notes of that beautiful tune. In our art, we begin to test our abilities to speak this language and to sing this song by expressing the unique aspect of God He reveals to us through our suffering, which He uses to mold us into the instruments and the eternal images of the divine Logos, Christ Himself, that He knows we can become. Lewis himself serves as an example. Through the suffering he underwent because of his mother’s cancer, God ultimately granted Lewis the privilege of knowing Jesus as our great comforter, which created in Lewis a heart for those in pain. This compassion for the suffering of others equipped him to write The Magician’s Nephew, a novel in which those who have witnessed a loved one suffer through an illness can find solace. Lewis’s abilities to empathize with others and console them through his literary talent were further honed after the death of Lewis’s wife, Joy, in the writing of his book A Grief Observed, which is often hailed as one of the most poignant expressions of grief ever written and recommended to those undergoing the stages of grief. Further examples of the connection between the specific conditions of our suffering and our unique knowledge of God abound: individuals who do not have a father figure may know God as our perfect heavenly Father more intensely than other Christians; those who struggle to find close relationships with others may know Jesus more intimately as the friend who sticks closer than a brother; and those who have experienced healing, either physical or mental, may know God more clearly as the great physician who heals all wounds. Given the multivalence of God’s character and His abiding goodness and mercy, the possibilities are endless.

Common to all of them, however, is that we attain this knowledge of Him and our accompanying joy only through suffering. In this vale of tears, suffering and joy cannot be separated. We believe, however, that joy is eternal because God is eternal. We may ask if the eternity of joy means suffering will also last in eternity, given the inseparability of suffering and joy. Certainly, our active suffering will not continue forever, for Revelation 21:4 promises God will wipe away every tear in paradise, where there will be no mourning, crying, or pain — the root cause of our fallen nature and suffering, sin, will finally be defeated.[40] But Christ bears His wounds even in His resurrected body, as when He appeared in the upper room and showed the disciples the wounds in His hands and side.[41] In this manner, our individual suffering that gives rise to the profound truths we gain about His nature must bear eternal fruit and remind us eternally of the individual healing He gave us.[42] Lewis points out that God is the “great iconoclast” who smashes our expectations and conceptions of even Him, and surely in heaven, He will continue to do so, as He sanctifies our suffering into an eternal component of the joy we find in Him.[43] For now, while we await that glorious day, we should learn the lesson Lewis teaches: we must not pray never to suffer, but rather for our suffering to make us more like Christ. We must remember the cross not only “comes before the crown,” in Lewis’s words, but that the crown comes to us only because of the cross.[44]

Once upon a recent time, the adult child and her mother found a measure of healing. My mother and I know how fortunate we are that her story did not end like Lewis’s own mother’s story, but instead more like that of Digory’s mother, and we now understand how our individual paths of suffering meet, as we walk the road of suffering through chronic illness together. “Let our sufferings bring us closer to each other and to you, our Great Physician, Lord,” we pray. And that prayer has been answered.

Citation Information

Megan Joy Rials, “The Crown Because of the Cross: The Inseparability of Suffering and Joy in the Thought of C.S. Lewis,” An Unexpected Journal: Joy 5, no. 3. (Fall 2022), 79-100.


[1] C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed (1961; repr., New York: HarperOne, 1994), 12.

[2] C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (1940; repr., New York: HarperOne, 2001), 23, 87.

[3] Ibid., 87-88.

[4] Ibid., 86-88.

[5] C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy (Orlando: Harcourt, 1955), 17-18.

[6] Ibid., 7, 238.

[7] C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory,” in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (1949; repr., HarperOne: New York, 2001), 31.

[8] Lewis, Surprised by Joy,  18, 72.

[9] Ibid., 166.

[10] Ibid., 165.

[11] Ibid., 166.

[12] Ibid., 78.

[13] C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy (1954; repr., New York: HarperTrophy, 1994), 201.

[14] C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm (1963; repr., Orlando: Harcourt, 1991), 92-93.

[15] Ibid., 93.

[16] Lewis, Surprised by Joy, 19.

[17] Ibid.,  21.

[18] C.S. Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew (1955; repr., New York: HarperTrophy, 1983), 171.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid., 154.

[21] Ibid., 191.

[22] Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew, 191.

[23] Ibid., 199-200.

[24] Lewis, Problem, 157-58.

[25] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; repr., New York: HarperOne, 2001), 176.

[26] Gal. 6:2 (ESV).

[27] C.S. Lewis, “Williams and the Arthuriad,” in Arthurian Torso (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1948), 123.

[28] C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces (1956; repr., Orlando: Harcourt, 1984), 300-301.

[29] Nevill Coghill, “An Approach to English,” in Light on C.S. Lewis, ed. Jocelyn Gibb (1965; repr., New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1965), 63.

[30] C.S. Lewis to Sheldon Vanauken, November 27, 1957, in The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, vol. 3, Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007), ed. Walter Hooper, 901.

[31] Lewis, Surprised by Joy, 220-21.

[32] Lewis, Problem, 152.

[33] Ibid., 152-53.

[34] Ibid., 154.

[35] Ibid., 154.

[36] Lewis, Problem, 154-55.

[37] Ibid., 151-52.

[38] Lewis, Problem, 155.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Rev. 21:4.

[41] John 20:19-31.

[42] The author expresses her gratitude to Dr. Holly Ordway for introducing her to this interpretation of this Scripture.

[43] Lewis, Grief, 66.

[44] Lewis, “The Weight of Glory,” 45.