C.S. Lewis on How Limitations Can Liberate Us

OD doesn’t waste anything in our lives, does he? Even the things we long to see accomplished and established, what can end up feeling like great disapointements, are tools used to shape us for all that God has in store. You can see this in the life of C.S. Lewis, whose life-long goal was to be a poet.

“From the age of sixteen onwards I had one single ambition,” Lewis once said, “from which I never wavered, in the prosecution of which I spent every ounce I could, on which I really and deliberately staked my whole contentment.” This single ambition was poetry, the genre in which Lewis published his first two books. Both flopped.

In both Spirits in Bondage and Dymer Lewis’s atheistic outlook is clear throughout. It’s not as though Lewis dropped his literary aspirations when he became a believer, but it seemed God had other plans for him. Lewis would write apologetic prose with all the force and beauty of an artist, a work best suited for a clear minded philosopher and warm hearted poet. This is one of the qualities that made Lewis’s writing so effective with his immediate audience and so lasting for future generations.

Maybe God is using your limitations, what you see as lack of success or opportunities, to shape you for something bigger and better in terms of influence for the kingdom. Like Lewis, we will all feel the sting of disappointment. But I want to encourage you to trust God in the face of what seems like failures and ask Him to use these setbacks to move you forward.

I should note, in November 2013, fifty years after Lewis’s death, he was honored with a memorial in the Poet’s Corner of Westminster Abbey, a reminder that God never wastes a single gift in our lives. These gifts might not be celebrated while we are alive, and to be honest, may never be celebrated at all from an earthly perspective. But God is a master artist who uses all of who he has made us to be to do all that he has planned for us to do. As the Apostle Paul says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10, NLT).