New Year's meditation

This is a translation of a scriptural meditation for December 31 from the Russian book, Day by Day. Lewis connections follow:

"Scripture: ‘And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there’ (Acts 20: 22)


‘What will happen to me there’, – Paul had no idea what would happen; he could not predict what dangers, misfortunes, tribulations or disappointments awaited him. Ahead lay complete uncertainty, but with his usual courage Paul says: ‘I am going to Jerusalem’. He was not one of those individuals who do not carry out their duty without knowing what this duty will demand of them. All of us stand on the threshold of the untried and unknown future in exactly the same way; we don’t see anything in front of us, we only try with fear and trepidation to enter into this uncertainty.

“ ‘What will happen to me there?’ I don’t know, and no power can reveal it to me. Our guesses are in vain, we don’t know anything, – what eventualities we may encounter, whether grief or joy await us, whether our future fate resembles the past, or whether there will be something totally different. Let us not get lost in guesswork, but rather go bravely forward, as St. Paul does, following God’s will, and God Himself will clear the way before us.

"So – ‘what will happen to me?’ Changes and unexpected events are inevitable and then, in the future, sooner or later, the inevitable end awaits us.

"This, then, is our ‘Jerusalem’, our ultimate goal.

"Let us go there ‘compelled by the Spirit’. Only the hope in God can motivate us to go forward calmly and bravely. Let us not be concerned about tomorrow – the Lord Himself will take care of it.

“Surrounded by darkness, not seeing anything in front us, let us stretch out our hand and grab a hold of His hand, which is ready to support and lead us. Then we will also be able to say: ‘Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me’ (Ps. 23: 4).”

A connection from Lewis’s fiction which the above meditation brings to mind is what Reepichip says in “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”:

"My own plans are made. While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan’s country, or shot over the edge of the world into some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise.”

And, as Lewis writes towards the end of the book, “my belief is that he came safe to Aslan’s country and is alive there to this day.”

And from Lewis’s non-fiction, from a letter a few months before his death:

“There are better things ahead than any we leave behind”.


“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)