Lewis wrote the essay in 1948, three years after the atomic bomb was used on Japan in World War II. No doubt, people around the world become frightened at the notion that they too could be destroyed by this nuclear weapon.
In order to apply Lewis's thoughts to today's time, we can simply replace "atomic bomb" with "terrorist attack" (or any way of dying that strikes fear in your heart). He begins the essay by saying that people think far too much about the atomic bomb. He goes on:
“you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways…It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.”Instead of worrying, he says:
“If we are all going to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, let that bomb when it comes find us doing sensible and human things – praying, working, teaching, reading, listening to music, bathing the children, playing tennis, chatting to our friends over a pint and a game of darts – not huddled together like frightened sheep and thinking about bombs. They may break our bodies but they need not dominate our minds.”And finally he gives the lesson explicitly:
“What the wars and the weather and the atomic bomb have really done is to remind us forcibly of the sort of world we are living in and…which we were beginning to forget. And this reminder is, so far as it goes, a good thing. We have been waked from a pretty dream, and now we can begin to talk about realities.”The reality is that "the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:17). And may we pray with the Psalmist: "O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"