Voyage of Sovereignty
The family went to see the latest tale of Narnia at the movie theater this afternoon – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. For a movie adaptation, it was OK. It is understandable that they had to chop the tale up in order to fit it into an under two hour feature.
But the film did remind me of the story that I had read to my daughter some time ago. It is so much a story about God’s sovereignty. About how He puts you in circumstances where you have the opportunity to face your true self. Where you are able to become less so that He can become more.
That is the story of pursuing God. Facing your true self, your root sins, core fears, and motivating desires and allowing God to do the (often painful) work of cutting away and shaping into the image of Christ.
God is very intentional about doing this – sovereignly – working all things, orchestrating events, knowing the outcome even when it all seems so unknown to us. And that is what happens for the three children who enter Narnia. There are things they each must face, lessons to learn, and a literal voyage for them to make. Aslan (Jesus) knows the outcome when He brings them through the picture. He’s the alpha and omega, after all, knowing both the beginning and the end. Time unfolds in a straight line for us, but that is neither God’s limitation nor concern.
Most explicitly this process happens for Eustace who must face the brokenness and division that his selfishness brings. First relationally with his cousins and citizens of Narnia, but also tangibly as his hording selfishness turns him into a dragon. Painful, humiliating, demoralizing, lonely…but necessary for him to cede that it is out of his own power to change. He must let the Lion dig deep within him in order to expose what is most hidden…his true self. Only when his true self encounters the living God can he be changed and love those around them. Only after the painful pruning process can he be comfortable in his own skin. Only after being a dragon can he realize that Aslan thought he was beautiful all along.
I love this part of the book best. If only the movie had done this ‘conversion’ scene justice.
God knows the outcome of my life too. I can’t see it. All I have is the present, colored by the perspective of the past and my hope for the future. But I do trust that He’s got me in exactly the place that is going to help me face my pride, false expectations, fears, and earthly perspective.
The past couple weeks, things have been rough around the house. Chock it up to all the change going on. Doesn’t change how tough and painful and lonely the journey can be. In some ways, my wife seems worse with me around, like I am bad for her helping only to unsettle her and cause her anxiety that she has to allay. It seems that however I press into her, wall after wall goes up. Like I am inhibiting her progress.
I actually asked God why He wanted me here. It was not a question of regret. Not a question of uncertainty. It was just an honest ‘why’. God, help me to see the big picture that you see. And His answer spoke of His sovereignty. I’m here because He has made me to handle the situation. In addition to how He’s continuing to form me spiritually, He crafted me to be able to grow in a time like this. He knows the end result.
That’s important because He also told me that it’s not just for me that He had me return. It’s for my wife. Her discomfort is the very thing that she must face at this stage of her journey. Seems that rather than inhibiting progress, I am essential for it. I am the circumstance she needs to compel her on her journey inward.
That’s sovereignty. God sees the end. He has all the components in place to make that end a reality. And He does it out of His perfect love for us.