A Place of New Beginnings
C. S. Lewis the great Christian author and theologian of the 20th Century, was gifted with an insight into topics, which others missed. This month we have been looking at the Desert Stream Value of “Love” and Lewis provides insight into the nature of Love too, that others often overlook.
In his classic “The Four Loves” Lewis writes the following regarding vulnerability and love:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable… The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers of and perturbations of love is Hell.”
Anyone who has taken a spouse, or conceived a child knows about the vulnerability of love, and they will attest to what Lewis has written. To love is to be Vulnerable. Whenever we truly love, we expose ourselves to a myriad of pains. Your love can be rejected. Your love can be taken for granted. Your love can even be missed entirely.
Vulnerability is the very posture of love, because true love comes with no guarantees, love therefore often leads to pain. When you are rejected, taken for granted or separated by death from the one you love, pain is the natural consequence. As a result many who have loved make vows to “never love again”. Yet the human heart was meant for love. God created us as the objects of his perfect love, and he has gifted us in his image, to be able to love just as he himself does. When God, in love created us, he made himself vulnerable. No one has suffered more rejection, has been taken for granted more often or had his love missed entirely by so many as our Lord. Yet by his very nature He loves us still. That is unconditional love.
God has chosen to love us. In spite of the potential pain he remains vulnerable and committed to love. If our desire is to be like God then we too must remain vulnerable, we too must be committed to love. If we say in our hearts, “The pain is too great” and decide to close our hearts to love, then we will no longer be fit for Heaven. As Lewis simply states, “The only perfectly safe place from all the pain of love… is Hell.”
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