Fearful For Our Nation? Here’s A Great Reminder From C.S. Lewis

We live in challenging times in this country. Even before the recent Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage, I would hear believers say they fear for our nation. I recently read this quote by CS Lewis and it stirred me:

The Christian says, ‘Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or to be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that country and to help others to do the same. – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

While we should stand for truth and righteousness and seek the good of our nation we must never forget that for those of us who believe in Jesus this country, as wonderful as it is, is not our true home. As CS Lewis said, “I was made for another world.” Peter reminds us:

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. (1 Peter 2:11 )

We are “sojourners and exiles” here. We can’t forget this. As Lewis says,  “I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death.” This is how the Old Testament “heroes of the faith” lived – by keeping their eyes on their eternal destination:

By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:9-10, 13, 16)

The OT saints desired a better country – a heavenly one. So they lived their earthly lives for that country, always aware they were strangers and aliens here.

Pray for our leaders and our nation, stand for righteousness, and be thankful for the blessings God has given us here. But never forget that this is not your true home. Don’t be surprised when evil rears its head or if things should go poorly in this nation, because this is a fallen world and as blessed as we are in this country it’s a country in a fallen world. As CS Lewis says, at its best this world and the blessings of our nation are “a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage” of our true home.

Let’s pray regularly that God will bring his kingdom to this nation, open doors for the Gospel and save multitudes. But don’t forget where your true citizenship lies. Someday the United States will cease to exist. Then we will live in a better country, our heavenly country and true home.

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.