November 28, 2010

Slice of PIE: “We Don’t Pray About Eclipses…”

I am a fan of CS Lewis’ writing.

If this surprises you, then you haven’t been to my blog very often! Even so, I have spent years reading through his works. Of COURSE, I started with CHRONICLES OF NARNIA when I was about thirteen. My great-aunt Leola Danielson and her husband Ed (who smoked a pipe and snored like a Mac truck without a muffler) had to hold the place of my grandparents for most of my life because my real grandparents lived in California and never came to Minnesota. They also loved Jesus and held Him as Lord and Savior and spent time evangelizing all of us kids. In my case, that began when Aunty Lula (what we called her) let me take the hardcover copy of THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE home to read and eventually to keep.

Since then, I’ve read one massive biography about Lewis as well as uncounted articles and as many of his writings as I could handle (I have never tried his literary criticism!).

Several months ago, I read LETTERS TO MALCOLM.

You should know this about me: when I read anything non-fiction, I take notes. Not copious notes (unless I’m planning a review or planning on using the book for some other purpose), but enough so that I can take at least ONE thing from it. After reading LETTERS, I discovered that it was fiction – and I here I had written down three things from it as take-aways!



“Lewis” in the book, wrote to his young friend “Malcolm”, the following sentence: “We don’t pray about eclipses…”

I am sure it was embedded in a deeper discussion, but the rest of it wasn’t what struck me. It wasn’t what had staying power with me. The rest of the paragraph or conversation was not the hammer that made the bell in my head resonate and spark other ideas and thoughts.

This phrase did a couple of things for me. It made me realize that the only things I pray about are the things that are uncertain. In addition to NOT praying about eclipses, I don’t pray about my heartbeat (though some people DO); I do not pray about sunrise; I do not pray about temperatures (though some people DO); I also do not pray about ocean depth, Solar fusion, fingernail growth, the stability of my houses’ foundation, Christmas tree lights, grass growth, deer populations, the flow of electricity through high tension power lines, gasoline combustion, Interstate concrete, the composition of salt remaining constant, the Periodic Table of the elements, or whether the Universe is expanding at a significant portion of the speed of light.

Why DON’T I pray for those things in addition to eclipses?

I believe CS Lewis used hyperbole to make a point: God will take care of eclipses. They don’t require our prayerful intervention to happen. We simply assume that God is taking care of those things. By implication though, I need to trust that He is taking care of the smaller details: Liz’s strength, Mary’s living arrangements for next semester, Josh’s job, Laura’s education, Noah and my parent’s health and my writing career.

The Bible has said this eloquently already in Matthew 6: 27-29: “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.”

Lewis reiterates it for a “space age”, the age in which he was living.

The age in which I live.

This holiday season, I promise (I can’t make a vow!) to rest more completely in the care of the Savior whose birth and promise we now intensely celebrate!


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