Friday, January 25, 2013

"'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."--The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

"But between them and the foot of the sky there was something so white on the green grass that even with their eagles' eyes they could hardly look at it. They came on and saw that it was a Lamb.
“Come and have breakfast,” said the Lamb in its sweet milky voice.
Then they noticed for the first time that there was a fire lit on the grass and fish roasting on it. They sat down and ate the fish, hungry now for the first time for many days. And it was the most delicious food they had ever tasted.
“Please, Lamb,” said Lucy, “is this the way to Aslan's country?”
“Not for you,” said the Lamb. “For you the door into Aslan's country is from your own world.”
“What!” said Edmund. “Is there a way into Aslan's country from our world too?”
“There is a way into my country from all the worlds,” said the Lamb; but as he spoke his snowy white flushed into tawny gold and his size changed and he was Aslan himself, towering above them and scattering light from his mane.
“Oh, Aslan,” said Lucy. “Will you tell us how to get into your country from our world?”
“I shall be telling you all the time,” said Aslan. “But I will not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river. But do not fear that, for I am the great Bridge Builder…...

...Please, Aslan,” said Lucy. “Before we go, will you tell us when we can come back to Narnia again? Please. And oh, do, do, do make it soon.”
“Dearest,” said Aslan very gently, “you and your brother will never come back to Narnia.”
“Oh, Aslan!!” said Edmund and Lucy both together in despairing voices.
“You are too old, children,” said Aslan, “and you must begin to come close to your own world now.”
“It isn't Narnia, you know,” sobbed Lucy. “It's you. We shan't meet you there. And how can we live, never meeting you?”
“But you shall meet me, dear one,” said Aslan.
“Are are you there too, Sir?” said Edmund.
“I am,” said Aslan. “But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”

-The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

This is one of my favorite excerpts form the Chronicles of Narnia.

Having grown up with a distant father and in a legalistic church, my view of God was warped.
I came across this journal entry I wrote several years ago:

I remember hearing all of my life from my pastor and Christian friends that, "God loves me like a father"—that analogy was made countless times. I heard it in prayers, in sermons, in conversations after church…..everywhere. This was so hard for me to understand, because, honestly, in the past 10 years I haven't felt that my dad truly loves me. If God loves me as much as my dad does, then God must not love me much at all.

Something else that I heard for the first thirteen years of my life was about God's wrath. I heard it from the pulpit almost every week. And it was much easier for me to understand than "love" was. "Wrath", and "anger" sounded much more like my dad than "love" or "mercy" did. So, that was my view of God. He was an angry, unloving, unforgiving authority over me, that I had to submit to and obey in every way, or I would spend the rest of eternity burning in Hell. The only way that I would be able to escape from this horrifying end, was if I did everything in my power to please this God. Heaven, I heard, was much like church and seeing how boring church was, I didn't care for the idea of heaven much, but in weighing my options, I opted for heaven where I would spend the rest of eternity praising my "Angry Father in Heaven". Heaven wasn't my first choice, when it comes to where I want to spend the rest of time….but, it was better than Hell.

I look back, and I am so saddened that the over half of my life has been spent terrified of God. I remember laying awake at night, unable to sleep with my mind racing. This happened particularly on stormy nights. I would stare outside my window at the wind blowing the trees, the empty black sky. I'd listen to the wind howling. It was just how I imagined judgment day. At any moment I expected to hear a trumpet, and see the sky turn a brilliant white, and then....I'd be out of time. I would sit in my bed, sobbing my 6 year old heart out, closing my eyes and straining as hard as I could. Straining and try and focus on "being a christian", like somehow that would magically make me one. As my sobs became less and my exhaustion got the better of me I would say to myself in a whisper, "I'm a christian" as if those words would make it so. But I felt just as hopeless and empty inside. And then the storm would blow over, the sun would rise, and it would be a new day. Jesus hadn't come back, I wasn't burning in hell. But this fear still nagged at my heart.
My perception of God was an angry, temperamental greater being who could cast me into an eternity of torment for ever...and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't stop him.
And then, I met Aslan. I immediately grew to love this hero I met in these books. He was the saviour, the protector, the victor. He was just and merciful...The lion and the lamb. He was everything that was missing in my life. He was awe-inspiring and majestic, but at the same time my friend. I wished he could be real. But, this king that I had grown to trust was only a shadow, a whisper of someone much greater. He was Lewis's imperfect reflection of the real, perfect King. Here, Aslan has another name. I needed to learn to know him by that name. This was the very reason why these beautiful stories of Narnia were written, that by knowing Aslan there for a little, I would know Jesus better here.

C.S. Lewis laid the ground work in my heart to love my real saviour, Jesus. He cleared the confusions I had, the hurts, the distrust, and introduced me to a loving, merciful redeemer.

Thank you, Jack.

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