“Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
He’s the Lion, I knew that all along. He scared me at first, with his mighty manes and fiery eyes. But there was this strangely inviting glow about Him that made me curious enough to keep getting closer. And the closer I got, the better I saw that those sharp teeth now looked like shields for my protection. I saw that the fire in His eyes wasn’t there to burn me, but to consume anything less than love. I saw that those mighty manes were not just flowing in His air of command, but they were also a great hiding place. The roar that shook my foundation started the beating in my chest. It was His mighty breath that awakened my frightened, frozen heart.
So I leaned on Him. I leaned on the Lion and hid in His mighty manes. I learned to trust Him. I got to know the pace of His paws while walking with Him every day. He taught me how to roar and He stood behind me when I needed His power. He let me close enough to touch His scars, and I let Him close enough to touch mine.
But in the closeness I became familiar. I thought I knew the rhythm of His feet so well that I could predict where He was going. I thought I was so covered by the gold of His manes that I could estimate its price. I thought that I could be so fully leaning on Him, that I wouldn’t need my own feet anymore.
He didn’t roar louder to prove Himself. He never needed to defend Himself, He was strong enough. He saw that I became familiar and He just turned His face. It was the slightest move, so subtle that it was easy to miss. He didn’t turn away from me nor did He reject our present relationship. He simply invited me to see Him differently than ever before. It was small like a whisper; loud enough to hear, but quiet enough to give me a choice. I chose Him, like I always had and always will do. Thank God, I listened.
I thought I had given Him the freedom to be who He was. But once I listened to His quiet invitation and turned my eyes to see this new side of His face, I knew that I had been wrong. I built boxes in my mind to try to understand who He was, but those very boxes became a cage for Him to fit in. But He is the Lion, and He won’t let Himself be caged. So I discovered that the one who was in the cage of my understanding was not the Lion Himself, but my image of who I thought He would be. I thought I had known Him, but He showed me that He was so much bigger. I thought I had seen His beauty, but just one small turn of His face made in awe of His splendor again. He just whispered His name; I AM WHO I AM. It was enough, it had always been.
I fell on my face and released the key. On it’s glistening side it was engraved in gold: “Not to what I think thou art but to what thou knowest thyself to be”. The key didn’t just opened the cage, but it ripped the frame to pieces. Suddenly I knew that He would never fit in my understanding. He was close, He wanted to be. But He’s not safe, and I didn’t want Him to be. He’s still King, in all of His glory He remained indescribable, incomprehensible and unpredictable. He’s not safe, but I’m not afraid of Him. My surrender was never based on His safety, but on His goodness. Besides, I can only be backed up by the power I don’t back away from. I can only roar with the volume that I’ve let myself be exposed to. Won’t I let Him be strong?
He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.”
(All the cursive sentences in this post are quotes of C.S. Lewis, found in “Screwtape’s letters” and the Chronicles of Narnia.)