by Andrew McQuitty

Surprised by Joy
E.A. McQuitty
Genesis 28

The one principle of Hell is-- "I am my own'" (George MacDonald).

Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it" (Jacob, Gen. 28.16).

Introduction: 3 surprising truths Jacob's ladder. . .

The justification that many use for rejecting God in the face of a great tragedy like America has suffered is God is not there and does not care. Therefore, if I'm going to find peace in living, I've got to find it on my own. That was the exact mentality of a young Oxford undergraduate named C.S. Lewis in 1929. For years an atheist, he sought fulfillment his own way because, spiritually speaking, he believed he was on his own. But then something strange began to transpire in Lewis' life. It seemed that everything he read, everyone he talked to, somehow pointed him in God's direction.

"A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere-- 'Bibles laid open, millions of surprises,' as Herbert says, 'fine nets and strategems.' God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous" (Surprised by Joy, 191).

Why did a young intellectual like C.S. Lewis so strongly desire, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, to avoid belief in God? Because of the prodigal philosophy: God is not there and does not care. Even if God existed, Lewis fled because he assumed God was a Grinch whose chief delight was tormenting mere mortals. Thus Lewis' unusual conversion experience:

"You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that "God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England" (Surprised by Joy, 228).


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