1992) From A Tired Traveler Near the Journey’s End

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Lewis in 1958

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From a letter by C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) to Mary Willis Shelburne, June 17, 1963. 
Shelburne was dying, and Lewis himself died November 22, 1963 after a year filled with health problems.

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     Pain is terrible, but surely you need not have fear as well.  Can you not see death as the friend and deliverer?  It means stripping off that body which is tormenting you…  What is there to be afraid of?  You have long attempted (and none of us does more) a Christian life.  Your sins are confessed and absolved.  Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave it with regret?  There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.

     Remember, though we struggle against things because we are afraid of them, it is often the other way round– we get afraid because we struggle.  Are you struggling, resisting?  Don’t you think our Lord says to you “Peace, child, peace.  Relax.  Let go.  Underneath are the everlasting arms.  Let go, I will catch you.  Do you trust me so little?”

    Of course, this may not be the end.  Then make it a good rehearsal.

     Yours (and like you a tired traveler near the journey’s end)  

     Jack

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Deuteronomy 33:27a — The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

John 16:33 — (Jesus said), “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”

Philippians 1:20-24 — I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me.  Yet what shall I choose?  I do not know!  I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

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Let me never think, O eternal Father, that I am here to stay.  Let me still remember that I am a stranger and pilgrim on the earth.  For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.  Preserve me by Thy grace, good Lord, from so losing myself in the joys of earth that I may have no longing left for the purer joys of heaven.  Let not the happiness of this day become a snare to my too worldly heart.  And if, instead of happiness, I have today suffered any disappointment or defeat, if there has been any sorrow where I had hoped for joy, or sickness where I had looked for health, give me grace to accept it from Thy hand as a loving reminder that this is not my home.  Amen.     –John Baillie (1886-1960)