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Getting More of God

He’s not a tame lion, you know . . .

I love C. S. Lewis’ description of Aslan, the lion who represents God in Lewis’ allegorical children’s series, The Chronicles of Narnia. Here’s a short excerpt, and I hope, if you haven’t ever read this series, you’ll spend some enjoyable evenings discovering this delightful treasure.

In the excerpts below, Mr. Beaver is trying to introduce the children in the story to Aslan:

“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’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.

“He’ll be coming and going . . . one day you’ll see him and another you won’t. He doesn’t like being tied down—and of course he has other countries to attend to. It’s quite all right. He’ll often drop in. Only you mustn’t press him. He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.”

A friend contacted me because she wanted more of God, wanted to grow in her relationship with Him, and was hoping I might be able to serve as a mentor in her life. Little did she know all she was asking. 

Now don’t misunderstand me, asking for more of God is a good thing, the best . . . and asking to grow in Him should be the driving desire of every heart. But, growing in Christ always involves pain—that’s just the way it is. I’ve read it put many ways, the principle that:

God never uses greatly one who He has not brought through great suffering or trial.

Getting more of God means drawing close to Him. And as we draw close, we see His holiness, and in that brilliant light, our eyes are opened to things we never saw before—things that are shabby and grimy. Things that need His refining fire in order to be purified.

I can chose to let him burn away my dross, refine me, or I can chose to walk away and miss out on that gracious cleansing work and greater intimacy with Him.

Since first approaching me a year ago, I’ve walked with my friend through some pretty dark times. God has uncovered hidden sin in both her and her husband’s lives. She’s discovered things about herself (and him) that she didn’t realize were lying beneath the surface of their marriage.

It has been a bitter-sweet journey of growth.

Each layer, each root issue that God has brought to light, has driven them deeper into the study of God’s Word and brought the fruit of repentance. And, as is always the case, their growth has not been for their edification alone. This journey has given them opportunity to share with others out of the well of that growth.

They’ve also had to step out on faith with a job change, a move across the country, getting established in a new home, a new ministry, a new church, and the search for new friends. It hasn’t been easy, in fact, it has been excruciating.

And it has been good.

Every step on this journey of growth has given them greater opportunity to trust God. Whenever we’re led on a journey that requires trusting God, it will result in greater intimacy with Him. 

The fiery crucible of refining presses us into the position of knowing Christ like nothing else can.

When Paul cried out to know Christ, for “more” of God, He cried out with the understanding that pressing in more deeply to Him will involve suffering. We cannot know Him intimately without joining in the fellowship of His suffering:

[box]“. . . that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;” (Philippians 3:10)[/box]

Without the context of personal suffering, I really have an inadequate perspective of the depth of Christ’s sacrifice. But, as I look to Him in my suffering, and seek to know Him more, I have the promise of receiving “more” of God, of spiritual growth; the promise of an established faith:

[box]“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)[/box]

I don’t like pain. I don’t want unnecessary suffering. But, I do want the blessing and benefit that comes from pressing in to know God. And so, I yield to that crucible, I step out on the journey of faith (with wobbly knees most times, not running toward it . . .), and I say “Yes, Lord” to the invitation to get in the gap with God, knowing that the suffering is not without purpose.

Because, although I’ve come to realize He’s not a tame lion; He doesn’t always fit within my little box for Him, and He doesn’t always show up when and where I think He should . . .

He’s not a tame lion, but He is a good and faithful King.

6 Comments

  • Pauline

    Thank you for sharing this message, Kim. As of late, I (and my siblings) have been helping my aged parents go through some trials and suffering. Trying to help them understand that God uses these things for the “good of those who love Him” has been a bit of a challenge. But I praise God for His great faithfulness, grace, strength and mercy. He has been “an ever present help in trouble.” I know that He is answering our prayers, that we have been praying on our parents’ behalf for several years. I am thankful for the trials He has brought me through, that I might comfort them with the comfort I have received. Thank you for staying faithful to our great God and the work He has called you to. Pauline

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Pauline ~

    Thank you for your kind encouragement to me in the midst of this difficult season. I am praising God with you that you are seeing His hand of faithfulness even during this trial. I hope you’ll read the posts next week, I’ll be addressing the challenging issue of reconciling God’s goodness in the midst of tragic circumstances.

    Praying this passage for you today (it has sustained and encouraged me many times when walking through difficult seasons):

    “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)

  • Vicki

    Hi Kim! I just read this blog post this morning. And I now have tears in my eyes – again!! God is so very good!!! Even in giving me long-distance friends like you! I just signed up for TW14 – certainly hoping I can see you there to at least give you a hug! This is what I wrote in my journal yesterday… I sense a theme! 🙂

    “I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You! -Job 42:5

    “Oh taste and see that The Lord is good!” -Psalm 34:8

    A connection between these two verses is the word “see.” It’s the Greek word rââ; and it means to see, literally or figuratively. The list of words to explain this one word is about a mile long, but here’s some of them: approve, behold, consider, discern, (make to) enjoy, have experience, gaze, take heed… I guess we get the picture. At the very least, it is not a superficial glance. There is understanding attached to it. It’s an intimate seeing!

    What brought the Psalmist to seeing? Tasting! What brought Job to seeing? We know the story of that one! Suffering! Unbelievable suffering! Suffering that probably never did make complete sense to Job. I wonder if one of the main ways that we are able “taste” The Lord is through our sufferings…

    I am reminded of these words by Max Lucado…

    “A season of suffering is a small price to pay for a clear view of God!”

    Lord help us persevere! May our sufferings, our “tasting”, lead us to a very clear view of You, our God! You are a very good Father, allowing what you hate to accomplish what you love!

  • Vicki

    By the way…Aslan is soooo on the move in this neck of the woods!! Thanks for faithfully praying for people you don’t even know!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello Vicki ~

    I love this! “You are a very good Father, allowing what you hate to accomplish what you love!” Thank you for such an insightful comment. I love to hear what God is teaching you, such good stuff!!

    And yes–please come and give me a hug at TW 14!!

    Blessings, friend ~

  • Vicki

    Just want to clarify, Kim…that thought is not original with me. I don’t know where I heard it, but it stuck with me!