After first entering Narnia and hearing about Aslan the Lion, one of the main characters, Susan, asked this question, “Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
The response of their host, Mr. Beaver, initially brings chills but then generates wary curiosity:
“Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘
Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”*
As I write, I am struck by how short-sighted we are when it comes to the things of God. Living in a world that speaks about fulfillment in terms of outward success, we are urged to “follow your dreams” with little to no thought of God’s purposes being worked out in our lives. Very often, if/when success comes, disillusionment soon follows as we wonder, “What now? Is this all there is?” The fact is, when our dreams become our god, success is fleeting and true fulfillment eludes us.
In the Counseling Room we talk about God and the importance of seeking out His plan and purpose for our lives. Rather than fulfillment in the now–or even in the immediate future–we look to the Scriptures to learn that God thinks longterm, toward our ultimately being made whole in Him. Consider the following verses that speak toward this end:
“For in Him (Christ) the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,
and you have been filled in Him,
who is the head of all rule and authority.”
Colossians 2:9-10 ESV
When we receive Christ in repentant faith, the Holy Spirit enters into our hearts to clean out our old ways of thinking and doing through conviction. It is through the Spirit’s working that we are made whole.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace,
who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ,
will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
1 Peter 5:10 ESV
To be restored, confirmed, strengthened and established by God is to be made whole.
“Let perseverance finish its work so that
you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Our part of being made whole is succinctly laid out by James as he encourages God’s own to consider trials a “joy”.** As we rely on God to help us persevere through adversity, we are being conformed to the image of Christ Jesus– which is ultimately, being made whole..
I share the following poem by my good friend, Heidi Viars, that beautifully broadens our vision of God in relation to all that He has made. Heidi wrote her poem in response to a quote from renowned violin maker, Martin Schleske who records his thoughts as he works:
“A religion, in which success and blessing cover the same space,
has nothing to say to the world, because what such a religion could say,
the world is telling itself already.”***
Here is Heidi’s response:
An Instrument of God
Skilled is Your craftsmanship – Your art
With which You hone each part of man
As instruments we’re set apart
Play songs that through the ages span.
Your hand holds tight while chisel cuts
The flaws the world has left within;
You carve Your thoughts in those who trust
The Carpenter to take their sin.
With gentle bow-stroke You can hear
The sound of each vibrating string;
You bend and press Your holy ear
Into the heart and hear it sing.
In ways that I will never know
You craft this instrument of man;
With care design his song to grow
Into Your tune – Your sovereign plan.****
To be made whole requires that we surrender ourselves to the mysterious wonder of a God who continues to work out His wondrous purposes. Consider the words of David that offer hope beyond our human understanding in God’s ultimate purposes being worked out for the good of His faithful ones, to His sovereign glory:
“All the days ordained for me were written in Your Book,
before one of them came to be.”
It is only as we respond in faith to His question–“Will you trust me in this?”-– that our spiritual eyes are opened to appreciate the beauty of His divine purposes being worked out around us and into eternity. God’s ultimate goal for His own is that we would be made whole . . . conformed into the precious image of His Son.
All to His Glory!
*C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
**“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And perseverance must finish its work so that you may become mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
***Martin Schleske’s book, “The Sound of Life’s Unspeakable Beauty” (Der Klang) will be released in English in April 2020
****To receive blessing from more of Heidi’s writing press: https://heidiviars.com/2019/10/01/an-instrument-of-god/