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.