Do you ever feel like God is trying to tell you something?
After supper, as a family, we read aloud. During the pandemic we have been working our way through the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. We are on the last book in the series entitled, The Last Battle. A couple nights ago, we read chapter 13 and near the end of the chapter, we met some Dwarfs. Despite those around them being able to taste the sweetest fruit and see the glowing faces of friends, the Dwarfs sit in darkness. A fragrant flower smells only of stable litter.
“You see,” said Aslan. “They will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out.C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle
Then, that same night, sitting in the warmth of an early autumn fire, my friend Hannah’s Instastory:
I thought nothing of it but a coincidence and a lovely likeness of minds between two friends.
But Sunday morning, as I was watching church online, my friend Luke stood in front of the camera with a blindfold on. He spoke of the blindness of Peter saying, “Sometimes, the things we think can get in the way of what is really going on around us so even though we can hear and we can feel, we can’t see very clearly…we can’t really join in or participate.” Luke goes on to talk about how, one minute, Peter is being praised for his faith and then the next, Jesus says, “Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Peter tries to distract Jesus from what he has to do.
I’m tempted to think that God is affirming me in my ministry and that it is I who am being faced with Dwarfs. Even if I offer the sweetest fruit, the tastiest morsels, or a fragrant flower, some will just not choose to be taken out of their darkness. Perhaps, that is why I often feel that the love of Jesus and the word of God falls on hardened hearts and deaf ears.
But much to my dismay, I don’t think that’s it.
I think it is me who is blind.
And I don’t have search that hard to find out why or what this is in reference to. That’s the bittersweet reality of the Holy Spirit.
In the past couple of months, I have admitted to myself and to others that I need a break. I NEED a break.
I believe that I have always sought and followed God’s call for my life and for our lives, once I was married, but it certainly hasn’t been an easy road – the road less travelled. Perhaps, this last chapter, has been the hardest. What we thought we were called to, here in the UK, turned out to be a much different ministry than we anticipated. I won’t get into the details, but we have been stretched, battered and bruised and quite frankly, we are weary.
In the past couple of months, I have resolved that I will be the author of the next chapter. I want security. I want stability. I want control and I want to be comfortable but what I forget is that taking up a cross is never comfortable.
Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?Matthew 16:24-26
Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
Aslan said that the Dwarfs were “so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be take out.”
All my life I have done everything within my power to avoid being thought a fool. I call it first, so that others can’t accuse me of being ignorant, naïve or stupid. I did this when Ella, my older daughter, was born. They handed her to me and I said, “I think she has Down syndrome.” Before I let myself revel in the newness of life, this previous gift, perfection personified, I had to point out the imperfection. Nobody else did. No nurse or doctor even uttered the words or made a suggestion but I did not want to be made out to be a fool. I said it first. Ha, so there.
But we are called to be fools – not in a worldly sense, but fools for Christ. 1 Corinthians 4:10 says, “We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honour, but we in disrepute.”
I am afraid of being taken in. I am afraid to let down my guard or break down the walls that have sheltered me thus far, but in my heart, I know that is what God is calling me to do. To allow him to take me in, to abide in him and he in me.
What this means for the next chapter? I’m not sure.
Do I still feel like I need a break? Yes.
Do I feel that to honour my call as a mother, I do still need stability? Yes.
The truth is, I’m still not ready to wholly surrender. I’m wounded and am clinching, bracing for the next crash landing.
But the words and worlds of C. S. Lewis and story of Peter have encouraged me to at least admit that there might be scales on my eyes, keeping me from being fully present to what God is doing in and through me.
Will I be made out to be a fool? Perhaps.
But maybe that’s not such a bad thing.