Relationship with the Living God, the King of Universe, can be an intimidating, even fearful thing. As we embark on our journey of faith we can’t begin to know what lies ahead of us, where God’s will will lead us. Turning our life completely over to the care of one we cannot see and don’t yet fully know or understand can seem uncertain a best and downright risky and scary at worst. And yet, if we trust Him to be the benevolent God He claims Himself to be, we can jump into the future with a kind of reckless abandon.
C.S. Lewis, in his classic tale THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA, attempts to paint a picture of this mysterious trust relationship. Two of the main characters, Lucy and Susan, are young girls who find themselves in a strange land of talking beasts and fanciful kingdoms locked under a spell of evil—a place where it is “always winter, but never Christmas.” They come upon the company of Mr. and Mrs. Beaver and begin to inquire of them about the prospects of kingdoms and peoples of this strange land ever escaping the grip of evil that has descended upon them. The beavers begin to tell them of the great lion, Aslan, who is coming soon to conquer evil and restore the land to peace and security. What’s more, the children discover that they will become key players in Aslan’s great plan of redemption:
“Is—is he a man?’” asked Lucy.
“Aslan a man!” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. … Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion—the lion, the great Lion.”
“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he—quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he is good.”
John Eldredge, in his book THE SACRED ROMANCE, brings home the application:
Like … Susan and Lucy …, to find ourselves not as spectators but as central characters in the play of life is somewhat daunting. The stakes are truly high, sometimes literally life or death, and God rarely if ever yells “Cut!” just as the dangerous or painful scene descends upon us. No stunt doubles come onto the set to take our places. Many of us feel that we have been playing these kinds of senses ever since we were children. We wonder if our hero will ever show up to rescue us.
We would like to picture goodness as being synonymous with safety. When we think of God being good, we perhaps picture someone like Al on the old TV program Home Improvement. He is someone who carefully plans out each task ahead of time and has all the proper tools and safety equipment in place; someone who has thought out every possible danger ahead of time and made allowances to ensure our safety as his workmate …
Being in partnership with God, though, often feels much more like being Mel Gibson’s sidekick in the movie Lethal Weapon. In his determination to deal with the bad guy, he leaps from seventh-story balconies into swimming pools, surprised that we would have any hesitation in following after him. Like Indiana Jones’s love interest in the movies, we find ourselves caught up in an adventure of heroic proportions with a God who both seduces us with his boldness and energy, and repels us with his willingness to place us in mortal danger, suspended over pits of snakes.
Every good actor will tell you that to give your best performance you must learn to trust the director. Like the director of a great action-adventure movie, God will call us to perform all kinds of wild, harrowing, seemingly dangerous stunts. Truly, as Lewis asserted, God isn’t “safe” but He is “good.” Knowing this reality, we can find the courage to jump off any ledge, knowing that “underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).