Lewis on the kindness and mercy of God

I just finished reading Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life by C. S. Lewis. This is the story of his childhood and early adult life leading up to his conversion. I was so blessed reading this extended quote about his conversion from the very end of the book that I had to share it.

What a kind, gracious, and merciful God we serve.

“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. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? The words compelle intrare, compel them to come in, have been so abused by wicked men that we shudder at them; but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.” [emphasis mine]


  1. What a precious thought. I just finished reading Slave by John MacArthur, and he shares some thoughts closely related to this. My daughter is currently reading Surprised by Joy; I need to borrow it from her when she’s done!

  2. Beautiful thoughts about our wondrous salvation! Makes me think of both Watts’ hymn “How Sweet and Awful Is This Place” and Herbert’s poem “Love Bade Me Welcome.” Thanks for a nugget for meditation today!

    • Yes! We sang that hymn a couple of weeks ago at church. And I just went and read that poem thanks to your prompting. Thanks, Erika!

  3. Miss you here, Johanna. :) I don’t know how long it will be till you’re back here, but your absence has made me realize how much I enjoy your writing. Praying for you and your family, and weeping for you, today.

  4. And then they give down a needy or a feeling of lack.
    The reverse of that which we wish while attempting to entice our

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