The following Lewis quote is from God in the Dock, excerpted in my C.S. Lewis Bible to go alongside the Rich Young Ruler of Mark 10:17-31. (This Sunday our text is Matthew’s version of the same story.) Because of the danger that money, possessions, and intangible “riches”—like good fortune, health, and popularity—pose to our souls, God may take these things away from us as punishment.
[I]f He doesn’t, you will go on relying on them. It sounds cruel, doesn’t it? But I am beginning to find out that what people call the cruel doctrines are really the kindest ones in the long run. I used to think it was a “cruel” doctrine to say that troubles and sorrows were “punishments.” But I find in practice that when you are in trouble, the moment you regard it as a “punishment,” it becomes easier to bear. If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place of training and correction and it’s not so bad.[†]
† C.S. Lewis, “Money Trouble,” in The C.S. Lewis Bible, NRSV (New York: HarperOne, 2010), 1123.