Does that sound shocking? Irreverent?
The idea of “God” is often a far away, unreachable, impersonal object. An idea that is harsh, judgmental, even scary at times. If you’re anything like me, then it can be a struggle to see God as loving, tender, gentle, compassionate, and warm. But “God” isn’t supposed to be an idea of some far off object, because God is, as we all know, a being; a person. No longer in human form, but a person nonetheless.
I think of the times when I have felt love towards someone – perhaps it’s the admiration and love I feel for my husband, or the compassionate love I feel for a friend who is suffering, or the tender love I have felt for my little baby nephews and nieces; but when I think of any extent of warmth or love or gentleness that I am capable of, in fact that ANY human is capable of, it still can’t compare to the limitless extents of this person God’s feelings towards me.
Being a child of Christ, it is only satan’s influence in me that should make me expect anger or judgment or coldness from God. Because Christ gave His life on the cross, I never have to experience that.
I like to have a regular diet of The Chronicles of Narnia in my life, because Lewis’s portrayal of Aslan helps me to know God better; the majestic untamed Lion who is yet at the same time approachable, even hug-able. Even in reproach towards this or that Pevensie child, He never spoke in a way that wasn’t tender and compassionate and loving, and I need to be reminded that that is who my God is. Even when God gives me difficult things to go through in life, even when He allows me to suffer the consequences of my own bad choices, He is still with me, gracious, loving, warm, and tender. I wish I could remember to see Him that way always.
I began watching The Voyage of the Dawn Treader last night for the first time since the first year it came out, and had to stop half way through, so I finished it this morning. Truth, Love, and Mercy are such powerful magic that no matter where I see them, when I see them it humbles my heart and makes me find joy. C.S. Lewis definitely meant to put the symbolism of the Christian faith, and of those magical elements in his stories, but the beauty of it is that no matter who is writing the story and no matter what their intentions or religion, if they include the essence of Truth, Love, and Mercy, then regardless of their intentions, it points back to Jesus since Jesus IS Love, Is Truth, and IS Mercy. I am a bit of an emotional person (potentially a huge understatement) and this morning as I finished the movie I couldn’t stop the tears from pouring out as I watched Aslan take the scales off of Eustace the Dragon and turn him back into Eustace the boy; or as I watched Reepicheep speak of his yearning to be in Aslan’s land; or the part where Lucy asks if she’ll see Aslan again and He tells her that He is always watching her, and that she must learn Him by a different name back on Earth; how He tells them that He brought them to Narnia to know Him there so that they could know Him better at home in their own world. But the part that hit me deepest was the moment when Lucy runs forward and buries her face in Aslan’s mane. The concept that our God is so loving, such a FRIEND, so gentle and compassionate that you could run forward and bury your face in His embrace is heartbreakingly beautiful, and intensely comforting.
But the best part is that someday I’ll actually get to see Him face to face. I don’t know if there will be hugging in heaven, but I can’t imagine that there won’t be, since God Himself is the one who instituted affection and physical touch as a sign of love. So maybe someday I’ll even get to hug the Living and True God, and realize fully for the first time in my life just how accessible, loving, tender, compassionate, gentle, warm, and good He really is. It’s easier to imagine how God looks at me when I see how Aslan looks at Lucy.
Jesus instituted metaphors because He knows we need ways to wrap our minds around things that are too wonderful to understand. In this world where I continue to fight against satan, I can never fully understand how God sees me. But the metaphorical Aslan/God relationship and the Lucy/me relationship will help me to wrap my mind around it, at least for now. I can look forward in hope and anticipation of someday being in “Aslan’s Country.”