Counting the Cost
I love the fact that Lewis decided to address one of the core fallacies that is (still) used in evangelism. The promise of an easier life. You see, when people hear an easier life promised, they expect it to start right now and they expect it to be easier by their human definitions. Earthly responsibilities will not be as heavy, troubles will not come their way and the like. I have met several people over the years who have dumped their faith simply because this promise was made to them and it did not come true.
But Christ promises us real, abundant life to the full. Not easier. In fact, He declares that our lives as Christians will be much more difficult with Him than if we did not have Him. And Lewis talks at length in this chapter about that idea. Our life will be difficult because God is working at remaking us from the ground up.
To get this point across Lewis draws upon a couple of analogies – of a child who holds off on asking his mother to take him to the dentist because he knows that once the first tooth is fixed the dentist will keep poking around to look for more, and of a living house that is being renovated into something much more. When we ask God to heal us of a sin or two, He does. And then He continues because our humanity is so broken that we need more work done. Think about a car repair or a home repair that uncovers more issues than you were aware existed, or perhaps were even prepared to finance. The cost is great. But in the end, it is so worth it because life is so much better.
You see, God has a plan in mind for us, of what He wants to make us into. To be blunt, our own plans and ideas are a secondary concern for Him at best. His ideas are better than ours, and they are bigger than ours. No father plans for his child to only stumble around as a toddler. They want to see that child grow tall and walk freely. They are certainly pleased with the efforts they see from their toddler, but want more. It is the same way with God. His plan is for us to produce so much more than we could on our own. We need to let Him be in control.
“To shrink back from that plan is not humility: it is laziness and cowardice. To submit to it is not conceit or megalomania; it is obedience.” (page 204)