Surprised by Joy (Anglais) Broché – 12 avril 2012
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What makes Lewis's book so remarkable is his unashamed honesty and willingness to shed all masks in the face of reality, no matter how unpleasant or frightening that reality may first seem. Lewis did not want to find God, and we feel with him that burning desire to run away once God has been discovered. The wonderful lightness and love that characterize many of Lewis's later works are not found here. Instead we see his defenses against God shattered one by one as he follows an intellectual path to belief. He tries his best to argue his way out of it, fighting every step of the way and using all the trivial excuses that human beings use, but we feel God's presence bearing down on him step by step like a great weight until he realizes that there is no escape. Lewis sees that it is indeed a burden at first if one has come to it honestly, because with it comes the realization that we are required to abandon ourselves and submit to God's will in order to find eternal peace. This is not an easy road for a human being to follow -- indeed, it is the most difficult thing in the world, and Lewis knew that very well. We feel with him the pain and weight that came when he realized that there IS a God: the account of his final days as an atheist is absolutely excruciating for a reader who has had the same experience.
Lewis's account of his spiritual journey shows that God can be discovered in the most unlikely places and in the most unlikely ways, no matter how hard we try to avoid Him. When we think we have trumped God, we find that He has in fact trumped us, always remaining well ahead of us on the path. Lewis's account often reads like a great chess match between one man and God, but it remains familiar because it is a match that we play again and again. As always, Lewis's honesty is disarming, his insight staggering, and his humor refreshing. I cannot recommend this book enough, but if you are looking for a biography of Lewis's life, this will not provide it. For that I recommend George Sayer's study, but the best way to find out who Lewis was is to read his books.
For those readers who have come to believe in Jesus Christ as Man's only possible salvation, this book will leave them marvelling repeatedly at how Christ works in the lives of those he calls. Any Christian reader of "Surprised by Joy" will find numerous similarities in the path C.S. Lewis' salvation took him down, and a Christian reader can't help but want to join him in praising Christ for his awesome goodness in the lives of human beings he touches.
One fascinating element in C.S. Lewis' life, which is so encouraging for Christians in a post-Christian era, is that Lewis was raised by brilliant men to be constantly curious but always logical... always seeking the truth. One of the men Christ used the most in saving C.S. Lewis was a staunch Atheist; a dry, pensive, professor who demanded a rigid adherence to logic in any belief or action. This man, the "Great Knock", as Lewis, his brother, and their father called him, was so influential in Lewis' mental development that Lewis devotes a whole chapter ("The Great Knock") to discussion of him. How fascinating that whereas many today believe a rigorous pursuit of knowledge and facts leads to agnosticism, in the life of the greatest Christian apologist of the 20th Century it led to a belief in the sovereignty of Jesus Christ.
This is a book that I would recommend to anyone, but as "a must" to any Christian. While "Mere Christianity" is C.S. Lewis' best-selling book, and arguably has initiated more paths to Christ than any other book outside the Bible, "Surprised by Joy" presents a more complete understanding of those paths and their ultimate result.
Highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to see how one man made his journey to belief and/or wants to learn more about C.S. Lewis, the man.