The LORD says, “People who never before inquired about me are now asking about me. I am being found by people who were not looking for me. To them I have said, ‘I am here!’“ - Isaiah 65:1
In 1999, Christian History magazine surveyed its readers and Christian historians. Respondents to the survey were invited to name the five most influential well-known Christians. By a substantial margin, C.S. Lewis was most often named.
Born in Belfast, Ireland, in 1898 to parents who loved books, young “Jack” Lewis became a book lover during childhood, embarked on a scholarly career at Oxford, and became a convinced atheist. Strange beginnings for a man voted the most influential in spiritual growth!
In 1929, Lewis discarded his atheism and became a theist—but not happily. He described himself as “a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape.”8 Jack Lewis was experiencing the love of God drawing him.
Two years later, Lewis converted to Christianity. He had been meeting people he admired, only to discover (to his horror) that they were Christians. He had been reading his favorite authors, whom he liked except for their Christianity. But through their influence, his understanding of God grew. He was led to recognize that if God is God, he must be obeyed—not for the sake of reward but simply because he is God. Lewis wrote, “If you ask why we should obey God, in the last resort the answer is, [because God says,] ‘I am.’“ Lewis insisted that he was no more seeking God than a mouse seeks a cat. But God was seeking him. And he responded, he submitted, and the rest (as they say) is history.
We must always remember that the impulse to think about God comes from him, and that the desire to discover truth and beauty and reality is born from him. Jesus said, “People can’t come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me” (John 6:44). The Lord said through Isaiah, “People who never before inquired about me are now asking about me. I am being found by people who were not looking for me. To them I have said, ‘I am here!’“ (Isa. 65:1).
Through the people Jack Lewis met, the books he read, the beauty he saw on his long country walks, and the longing in his own heart for which he found no satisfaction, Lewis eventually heard the Lord say, “I am here.” For years he wasn’t looking and listening. But once he did, his life became a vehicle through which the Lord began to speak.
Every converted life is supposed to be a pulpit from which the Lord proclaims, clearly, to people who may not be listening, “I am here!”
For Further Study: Isaiah 65:1-10