Lately I’ve been rereading the “Chronicles of Narnia.” Not only are the books some of my favorites, but they’re quick reads, which is really helping me catch up on my Goodreads reading goal for the year.
The best fiction illustrates truth about real life. Over and over, C.S. Lewis used the fictional character of Aslan to illustrate truth about God. In Aslan’s words, “by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.”
Throughout the Narnia series, we see Aslan’s power and seriousness about wrongdoing. But in “The Magician’s Nephew,” we see a very tender moment. Digory asks Aslan for something he desperately wants and is afraid he’ll never receive. As he waits for Aslan’s answer, Digory — and all of us reading — know that Aslan can grant his wish with a roar or a shake of his mane. But Aslan does neither.
“Up till then [Digory] had been looking at the Lion’s great front feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion’s eyes…‘My son, my son,’ said Aslan. ‘I know. Grief is great. Only you and I in this land know that yet.’”
Don’t pretend it’s nothing
I grew up assuming I would marry young and raise a family. That’s what I always wanted my story to be.
You probably know what it’s like to watch friend after friend move on to the next stage of life while you stay where you seem to have always been. For my part, I’m seeing more and more engagements and wedding announcements and baby shower invites for people who are much younger than me.
I’ve heard so many times about “fear of missing out.” But I think for some of us, FOMO has turned to POMO: the pain of missing out. It’s not so much that I’m afraid of missing out — I know I’m missing out. At least right now. Whether I ever have a husband and children, I don’t right now, and it feels like nearly all the people around me do.
This is a legitimate pain. There are deeper pains, of course, but comparing our disappointments to others’ doesn’t lessen our own. It took me a while to realize the legitimacy of this pain, but I think it’s an important step: We need to acknowledge that it is OK to be disappointed, to hurt. We don’t have to shrug it off as if it’s nothing. It’s not.
Aslan didn’t downplay Digory’s pain. No matter what pain or disappointment we face, God doesn’t gloss over ours, either. And once we acknowledge our pain, we can move to the next step.
A name you can trust
As I drove across town this afternoon, I passed a billboard advertising a financial advisor: “A Name You Can Trust,” it said.
Now, I’m sure the businessman who bought the advertising space can be trusted — to help with investment questions. But I wouldn’t call him for relationship advice. Or to take care of my car door that appears to be stuck shut. When someone says they are a name we can trust, it all depends on what we are trusting them for.
The same is true spiritually: We know that our God is trustworthy. We can trust Him, yes. But what can we trust Him for?
Nowhere in the Bible do we read that God will give us every earthly gift or circumstance we desire. Not one of us is promised marriage or children or countless other good things.
We can trust God to change us in ways we never thought possible. We can trust that whatever He brings into our life is for our good. His is a name we can trust to truly know us. A name we can trust to know our griefs. The Bible tells us, “Surely [surely!] he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrow.”
How sweet is that? It’s not like God is ignoring our request with an exasperated sigh. He carries our sorrow. Like Aslan, He stoops to our level, looks in our eyes, and understands.
The things God knows
I know God has a plan for my life. I know He sees me and is working in my life right where I am right now. I know His plan is good — the best, even. But sometimes it means even more to me to know that He knows my sadness and disappointments.
God lived on this planet we live on. He breathed this air, felt this gravity. He knows pain, sorrow, disappointment — and He knows whatever is making us ache. He may not change our circumstances with the snap of a finger. But whatever comes next, His is a name we can trust.
Copyright 2022 Lauren Dunn. All rights reserved.