What do you think Joy tastes like? What does it look like? That is one of Joy’s frustrating aspects- it cannot be tangibly held. It doesn’t come in wearing a coat and scarf by which it can be recognized. It doesn’t have a distinctive nose or a certain accent so that we can point at it and say, “That’s Joy!” Joy can feel elusive and mysterious. It seems to reveal very little of itself when it gives us a taste of what we long for so deeply. And yet, even in its vagueness, Joy still remains the desire of us all, and we spend our lives in search of It.
CS Lewis’ autobiography, Surprised By Joy, describes his own hunt for Joy in his early life. He talks about “Stabs of Joy”- the fleeting desire for something beyond- that haunted him throughout his childhood. The book is about the source of Joy- the way he searched for it, and the way Joy’s Maker finally closed in on him. It is beautifully written and thoroughly provocative. It is a refreshing reminder for Christians, that what we cling to most does indeed exist outside of ourselves. There is a true, a real, and a very non- elusive Joy, and when we receive it, we are so inundated by a flood of it that we can no longer be left to wonder what it tastes like.
“A young man who wishes to remain an atheist cannot be too careful of his reading.”
“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.”
“The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.”
Who Should Read This Book?
I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever wondered about the reality of what they believe. Lewis’ journey to the Christian faith is logical and intellectual. It is a fascinating read. Every page is dotted with humor, wit, and deep sincerity. I cannot do it justice in a short review (or probably even a long one), so I encourage you all to go out and find yourself a copy- you won’t regret it!