Additional Readings: A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken
“That death, so full of suffering for us both, suffering that still overwhelmed my life, was yet a severe mercy. A mercy as severe as death, a severity as merciful as love.”
A good friend of mine recommended the book that holds the quote above. Her and I both have a love for reading quality stories. I resolved that after my college career ended (for now at least) I would read as much as possible for pleasure. Books on Love, Philosophy, Theology, and Poetry are my favorite. Once I picked up this book titled, A Severe Mercy, I couldn't put it down. Its an autobiographical love story about a young couple's conversion to Christianity through their friendship with C.S. Lewis. Sheldon and Davy (the main characters) have a deep love for beauty, poetry, music, adventure, and each other. After about 15 years of marriage tragedy strikes and Davy dies. This is devastating to Sheldon. He takes us through his realization of the mercy that brought about his wife's death.
The beauty about this love story is the sacrificial love that Davy shows to Sheldon. She tells Sheldon a short time before she dies, that she offered up her life for him in a prayer, so that he may have a change of heart and accept Christ more fully. She saw, and Sheldon sees after her death, that he loved her more than he loved God. He admits that he was jealous of the love that his wife had for her new Beloved Jesus. And this is why she prays for his conversion, even if the price for that that conversion is her own life. Talk about sacrificial love lived out to the end.
I am brought to Christ on the cross through this earthly love story. Christ loved us so much that he went to Calvary so that we may live in heavenly paradise with him forever. His mercy for us while we were still unresponsive to his love was/is severe as death... “a severity as merciful as love.” This is Love, to lay down one's life for another. In Ephesians 5:28-30 we read, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word...So [also] husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church.” YOU are the Church. YOU are the bride of Christ. Davy took on the roll of Christ on the cross for her husband. Praise God he realized that it was in God's mercy that she was taken from him. He would have kept placing her before the Lord and we can never place another before Christ.
Are you willing to die for the salvation of someone's soul? St Augustine says, “To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him, the greatest human achievement.” Are you so IN LOVE with Jesus that you would die for him? He already dies for you. He is that in love with you.