Sometimes the most difficult and murky concepts can become clearer through the world of imagination.
One of my favorite scenes in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe involves talking beavers. Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy have all entered Narnia together and meet up with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, who begin to explain to the children who Aslan is and his place within Narnia.
Aslan is described as the “Lord of the whole wood,” and yet, it appears as though the White Witch is the in fact the evil ruler of the entire land, and Aslan is not present. Having never seen Aslan, the children are curious and want to know more about him, so the Beavers explain how Aslan will one day return, destroy the White Witch and return the land of Narnia to beauty.
I can identify with Lucy as she tried to wrap her head around this unseen Aslan.
“Ooh!” said Susan, “I thought he was a man. Is he quite safe?”
Mrs. Beaver replied, “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’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
What a HUGE juxtaposition? He is good, but He is to be feared. What!!!
If you are joining our fall session with (in)courage.me….
….we are finishing up our reading of What Women Fear by Angie Smith with Chapter 10, where after taking great time throughout the book to prompt us to release so many of our fears to a loving God, she then tells us we should fear this same loving God.
Like Lucy, I must be honest to admit the difficulty I once had in wrapping my head around what seems to be a paradox.
I had to take some time to really break it down and this required some inner searching on my part and some intervention on God’s part. The beginning of the process for me was first finding God’s goodness in such a way that I could then believe in His love for me.
Sometimes, if we do not have a positive framework to relate to God’s goodness and His love, we have to search out those times in our lives when good was present. And understanding the gravity of goodness usually has to be discovered and identified in relation to all which was not good. Once we see God during the difficult or traumatic times of our life…. that He was present…..that He was working….then we can begin to embrace His goodness. Then we can begin to trust.
And when we can trust, we can choose willingly to obey, with obedience that reaches beyond a childhood fear of punishment into the realm of respect and reverence.
Angie states, “The litmus test for our fear of God is pretty simple…How well do we obey him?”
If this is true, which I believe it is, we are still left with the question, “Why is God to be feared?” Perhaps we have difficulty answering this question because we are so accustomed to taking charge of our own life. We have been the authority over our own life and robbed our God of this authority.
We fear God because He is God. He is Creator. He is King.
So, is He safe? And if He is not safe, how can we obey Him?
Perhaps the answer is in the proper usage of “safe.”
Do we really want a safe God? Do we really want a tame God?
I love the answer Angie gives to us through her quoting of Mike Yaconelli…
“Our world is tired of people whose God is tame. It is longing to see people whose God is big and holy and frightening and gentle and tender…and ours; a God whose love frightens us into His strong and powerful arms where He longs to whisper those terrifying words, “I love you.”
There is nothing grand or exciting about safe. Yes, it will satisfy for a short time, but safe will not carry us through the refining and molding necessary for us to become like Jesus. Safe requires nothing of us.
Angie challenges us to:
“Fear God in the way that makes your knees bend and your heart race. Reverence Him. Be in awe of who He is. That in His divine wisdom, He chose you, your circumstances, and every last hair on your head in order to woo you to trust and glorify Him the way He deserves to be glorified. He didn’t choose you because of anything in you, but because of everything in Him.”
I want a God who inspires awe at the very mention of His name. I want a God who fights for me and rescues me. Who showers me in mercy and demands all that is just. Who lavishes me with grace and requires everything from me. I want a God who is crazy good and crazy jealous.
I want a God who is Lord of the whole world, not just the whole wood! A God Who is King!
How about you?
Are there obstacles which hinder your ability to fear God?
Are you able to see His goodness in your life?
Have you allowed God to be big enough to carry you beyond tame?
If you are a bit behind in your reading of What Women Fear, you can find the Reading Schedule here.