Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Living in Narnia

The other night USA Network had "Prince Caspian" on. I just adore the Chronicles of Narnia, I have been reading them since I was a little girl and they never get old. I know each story by heart, but it never ceases to amaze me how, as an adult, I can pick them up and find a new nugget of truth in them that speaks to my heart. That is what makes Clive Staples Lewis my favorite author of all time.

"Prince Caspian" is actually my least favorite book in the whole of the seven books in the Chronicles, but there is a chapter that always amazes me every time I read it. Lucy has found Aslan in the woods and she is frightened and has been brushed aside (again) by the others, so she feels weak and vulnerable. She tells Aslan she wishes she could be brave, to which he replies that if she were any braver she would be a lioness. But Lewis inserts 2 sentances in this scene that I always carry around in my heart. Lucy asks Aslan why he didn't sweep in and rescue them like he did last time and he replies

"Nothing ever happens the same way twice." And then she asks him if things would have turned out all right if she had left the others and followed Aslan when he appeared to her and not to them. And he replies, "Dear One, we are never told what WOULD have happened. Only what WILL happen."

I find this both comforting and frustrating because I NEED to know! I walk around, second guessing myself, doubting my decisions, worrying that I have made the wrong choice constantly. I ask God every day "Was that the right thing to do? Did I do the right thing? Why did I do that? What are the consequences of that choice?" And then these words from a fairy tale written 60 years ago come back to my memory as if Christ himself had spoken them to me. "You are never told what WOULD have happened IF...."

In some ways this is very comforting! I shouldn't be second-guessing myself. The future is going to come, and my decisions are going to affect them. All I can do is pray each day that I am tuned in enough to the Holy Spirit to hear Him guiding me - just like Lucy saw Aslan in the woods, beckoning for her to follow Him because He knew the path.

But it's frustrating because it takes away my justification of a wrong choice. "If I had known THIS would happen as a result of THAT choice, I never would have done it!"

Nothing ever happens the same way twice. This is a passage that has Grace written all over it. Our church is teaching the message of Grace right now, and for some reason, its a controversial topic in the Christian world. I'll never figure out why, but perhaps I've just been given a little more revelation than some. Christian churches tend to either teach "God loves you NO MATTER WHAT!" and leave it at that. Or they teach "HOLINESS - you'll have to work really hard at being holy because Jesus said to!" Both of those teachings are incomplete.

Sure, God loves you no matter what. Your sin did not keep God from sending the Messiah to die on a cross to save humanity. He does love you no matter how awful you are. But he loves you too much to let you stay the way you are. Which is why every day He continues to purify your heart and make you one step closer to being holy as Jesus is.

And nothing happens the same way twice. You could be trapped in sin, and God will guide you out. But the second time you are caught in that sin, He probably will not sweep in and rescue you like he did the last time. There are always consequences. We can't continue to live any way we like just because we found out that God loves us no matter what. But be assured that His Grace will cover that sin a hundred times over until you no longer struggle with it.

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