The RELUCTANT Convert
Guideposts|April 2021
How the beloved author of the Chronicles of Narnia helped a struggling veteran rediscover his faith
JEREMIAH BRAUDRICK

For much of my life, I have as-sumed that I was a spiritual failure. How can that be? I’m a pastor. A father. A Marine veteran.

I run a ministry that provides church services to inmates in Oklahoma prisons. I do my best to make God real to people desperate for something to believe in. How could a spiritual failure do all that?

Wind back the clock 12 years. I was transitioning to civilian life after eight years of military service, including combat duty in Afghanistan. My marriage was falling apart. I’d pretty much abandoned my faith during my time in the service. I suffered from depression. I was convinced God saw me as a worthless failure, and I agreed.

You know what pulled me out of all that? A quote I saw on Facebook. It was one of those random inspirational quotes people post. It read: “I have found (to my regret) that the degrees of shame and disgust which I actually feel at my own sins do not at all correspond to what my reason tells me about their comparative gravity.”

The language was complicated and formal, like something an Oxford don would write. I heard a simple message: Maybe my feelings of spiritual worthlessness weren’t the final word about me. Maybe I wasn’t the best judge of God’s attitude.

Maybe I had a chance after all. The author’s name? C. S. Lewis. Was that the same C. S. Lewis who wrote the Chronicles of Narnia books I’d read as a child? Was he a Christian?

It was like he knew exactly what I felt and exactly what I needed to hear.

Who was this guy? Answering that question changed my life. Along the way, I learned something about C. S. Lewis—a military veteran like me—that strengthened my reawakening faith.

C. S. Lewis was a best-selling Christian writer, a professor of medieval English literature at Oxford (his alma mater) and Cambridge universities and, yes, the author of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

More than a century after his birth, in 1898, he remains beloved by millions. I encourage readers with a military background to give him a try.

Lewis was raised in a churchgoing Irish family but began to question his faith during his teens. At age 19, he was sent by the British Army to the front lines of World War I and fought as an infantryman in the hideous trenches. He was wounded by shellfire and returned home a committed atheist. More than a decade passed after his military service before he rediscovered his faith.

Lewis knew the psychic wounds soldiers carry. He also knew how God can redeem all of that.

Thanks to Lewis, I now know too. I can’t quite pinpoint the moment I lost my childhood faith. I grew up around church, but things got complicated after my parents split up and my mom joined what turned out to be a Christian cult.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM GUIDEPOSTSView All

The Legacy of Flight 93

An Army officer remembers his cousin Rich Guadagno and the other 39 heroes who died in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on September 11

5 mins read
Guideposts
August/September 2021

The List

After two divorces, did I really know what I wanted in a relationship? Did I even know who I needed to be?

8 mins read
Guideposts
August/September 2021

“God Will Bless Your Business

George Turner was sure the pandemic would spell the end of his struggling bike shop. His pastor had other ideas

5 mins read
Guideposts
August/September 2021

The 46th Peak

We decided to do this last hike of the challenge together. Partway down, I heard my husband scream

7 mins read
Guideposts
August/September 2021

Challenge Yourself to...Connect More!

Eager to emerge from the loneliness of lockdown and socialize again? We’ve put together a list of 15 challenges for reconnecting with the people you care about—and making new friends too. Focus on a few activities, or pick one each day to try over the next two months. Pay attention to how your relationships flourish!

2 mins read
Guideposts
August/September 2021

Reason for Hope

I feared my son would never get off drugs. Until an art class changed my heart

8 mins read
Guideposts
August/September 2021

Pistol

He was the dog I always wanted. But he came with baggage, a little like me

7 mins read
Guideposts
August/September 2021

ALONE WITH MY FAITH

The pandemic left a lot of us feeling isolated. Including me. But it opened the door to something deeper in my music and in my soul

9 mins read
Guideposts
August/September 2021

Brought Together

How two strangers found friendship and healing as they came to terms with the legacy of slavery

9 mins read
Guideposts
August/September 2021

70 Years of Hope & Inspiration

Elizabeth Sherrill’s life as a writer has been a journey of the soul, a journey that also became the very soul of Guideposts magazine

8 mins read
Guideposts
August/September 2021
RELATED STORIES

LESSONS NOT LEARNED

How the Oxford school massacre could have been stopped

6 mins read
Mother Jones
May/June 2022

Jozi's New Food Hub

Explore Oxford Parks and you’ll discover that, even during a global pandemic, the brave and bold of SA’s food world have been dreaming up a different way to work, live and eat

5 mins read
Woolworths TASTE
May/June 2022

Being A Pilot

A Conversation with: Valentino Rossi & Lewis Hamilton

3 mins read
Bike SA
May 2022

ΑΝΑ MOVES ON FROM BEN

It's getting serious between Ana de Armas and Paul Baukadakis!

1 min read
Star
April 18, 2022

FOR RUSSIAN DIPLOMATS, DISINFORMATION IS PART OF THE JOB

As governments and social media companies have moved to suppress Russia’s state media and the disinformation it spreads about the war in Ukraine, the Kremlin’s diplomats are stepping up to do the dirty work.

5 mins read
Techlife News
April 23, 2022

On the True Grit Trails

Travel across Arkansas, Oklahoma and Colorado and discover the real and imagined locations of the iconic novel and 1969 film's locations.

6 mins read
True West
April 2022

Cape Cod Classic

This 1880s cottage kitchen, located in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, shines after a complete remodel that brings together old-world charm, modern convenience and a distinct New England style.

4 mins read
Cottages and Bungalows
April - May 2022

A LIKELY POOR JOBS FIGURE FOR JANUARY COULD PROVE TEMPORARY

Last month, U.S. employers might have shed jobs for the first time in about a year, potentially raising alarms about the economy’s trajectory.

4 mins read
Techlife News
February 05, 2022

Two Courts Debunk Persistent Opioid Myths

Since 2014, state and local governments have filed thousands of lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies they blame for causing the “opioid crisis” by exaggerating the benefits and minimizing the risks of prescription pain medication. The theory underlying these cases is pretty straightforward: Drug manufacturers lied, and people died.

2 mins read
Reason magazine
March 2022

ULTIMATE ADVENTURE 2021 PRESENTED BY RUGGED RIDGE

Tumbleweeding from Oklahoma into Texas

10+ mins read
Four Wheeler
February 2022