Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘Narnia’

A Safe Distance?

Keeping our distance is a good way to stay safe from things that would threaten our safety–
–another vehicle on the road
–a live wire
–fire
–a wild animal

We tell our children, “Don’t get too close; you might get hurt.”

Keep Distance

On the other hand, how could we as humans relate to one another without getting close enough to communicate and express affection?  When we get close to someone, it’s true that we are making ourselves vulnerable to hurt, but we are also opening ourselves to love.  I’m reminded of back in the 60’s and 70’s when cars were made with bench seats in the front.   Often one would see what we called a “two-headed driver”—a couple sitting as close to each other as possible while the guy drove! 

What about getting close to God?  If you’ve read or seen the tales of Narnia, you will recall that most beloved character Aslan, the great lion that symbolizes Jesus Christ.  When the four children first hear the Beavers talking about Aslan, they ask, “Is he quite safe?”  The answer was, “’Course he isn’t safe.  But he’s good.  He’s the King, I tell you.”  And all through the seven books, the children take great delight in being as near as possible to Aslan.  Real love of God will overcome our fears and give us the greatest joy and security.

These are some of the my thoughts as I read this short article by Dr. Harold J. Sala in his book Today Counts:

I’ve been thinking about our lives in relationship to God. Often we don’t want to be too far away from Him, but neither do we want to get so close that He can easily get to us. A comfort zone is okay. After all, it’s good to be on the side of God but just don’t get too carried away with this business of religion.

Why are we afraid of getting too close to God, or letting Him get too close to us? There are three clusters of fear that keep us on the spiritual beltway – neither too close nor too far away.

Fear 1: You can never really please God, so why try? A lot of folks – especially those who have had parents whose expectations were difficult to meet – think they can never be good enough or spiritual enough for God to receive them and fully love them.

Fear 2: You will lose control of your life if you allow God to get close to you. The issue of “who is in charge” keeps lots of people on spiritual beltway. Yes, they want to be close enough to get God’s attention when things get desperate but not so close that they can’t make a spiritual detour.

Fear 3: You will be asked to do something you don’t like and to stop doing something you like but God dislikes. But most of our fears are irrational and without foundation. God is a loving Father who wants the best for us.

When you understand who God is and how compelling is His desire to have fellowship with you, you quickly abandon the beltway of your comfort and strive to move towards the presence of the Almighty.

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When Will Aslan Show Up?

Years ago our son played the part of Papa Panov, a shoe maker, in a Christmas play.  God had promised him that on this day, the Christ Child would pay him a visit.  All day long he waited but his expected Guest didn’t show up. Then it was revealed to him that Christ had actually visited him in the form of several people to whom he had shown kindness that day.

Others who didn’t recognize Jesus among them were Mary Magdalene and the two men on the road to Emmaus on that first Resurrection Day.  Why?  They’d known Him intimately, and he was right there before them.  Did his resurrected body look that different from the one they had known?  Did their fears and tears blind their eyes? 

Like the children in the Narnia books, I long for a glimpse of Aslan.  That’s what I love about those books—where is Aslan now?  When will he show up?  What will he look like?  Like a huge lion or like a kitty-cat as he did once in “The Horse and His Boy”? 

This is the gold in the grime of my everyday life.  Lord, help me to recognize You! 

And I—in righteousness I will see your face;
when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.  (Psalm 17:15)

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  (Jeremiah 29:13)

Is He Safe?

Today my neighbor returned the first Narnia book which she had borrowed, “The Magician’s Nephew” by C. S. Lewis.  Now they’re reading “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”  And I’m delighted.  I pray that they will be not only fascinated by the thrill of this wonderful story but also captivated by the truth of what it represents.

Aslan, the beloved and awesome Lion!  On Sunday our pastor recalled the oft-quoted exchange between the children and the Narnian beavers: 

Susan:  “Is he—quite safe?” 

Mrs. Beaver:  “Safe?…Who said anything about safe?  ‘Course he isn’t safe.  But he’s good.  He’s the King, I tell you.”

This is the God I belong to—not the tame and tolerant god so many people fantasize about—but the “I AM” who demonstrated His character to his people in the Old Testament.  To those who are His, He’s as gentle as a lioness with her cubs.  But to those who reject Him, like a lion with its prey! 

I’m glad my God is powerful to accomplish His purposes and defend His honor and those who belong to Him.

I am safe. 

I am loved. 

I am content.

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