“The Lion is Not Safe”
By: Christina Mead
“Aslan is a lion — the Lion, the great Lion.”
“Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he… quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…
“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.” (C.S. Lewis, “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”)
If you’re unfamiliar with the book, I’ll give you the spark notes, snippet interpretation – Aslan is an allegory/image of God – the Lion of Judah (Revelation 5:5), the King of Kings – and he comes to save the world of Narnia from evil and darkness and eternal winter.
He is not safe… but he is good.
The way those words encapsulate the mystery of God’s love is so powerful to me.
When C.S. Lewis says “safe” he means that God is not little, timid, cautious, or shy like a sheep. He is never going to take the easy way. He didn’t tell His disciples “take up your toothpick and follow me.” It’s a cross. A cross we’re invited (not forced) to pick up. And the cross is anything but safe.
But it is transformative. The love of the Lion of Judah is not safe because He will not let me stay where I am, He invites me to ever more.
It’s tempting to want to take the easy way. The safe way. The way of comfort. But often that leads to me creating a world for myself that is steeped in the evil and darkness of sin. My heart freezes over — a winter inside me because I’ve shut out the warming love of God. I don’t want to feel the suffering of my neighbor so I close my eyes and stay inside my comfort zone.
Face to face with the Lion of Judah, in a moment of sincere encounter in prayer, I am so challenged by the way He loves. I look at the cross and I hear my own call to holiness, a call that wakes my frozen heart and challenges the safety of my bubble.
Embracing the crosses in my life is always where I’ve found the most freedom. It is a place of contradictions. Not safe… but good. It hurts… but it heals. There is pain… but there is resurrection. I don’t want to see my neighbors suffering but in seeing it my own suffering fades away. I am myself, but I am empowered to put others first. His love brings me closer to His heart, but it pushes me to places where I can grow. And it is all so good.
I don’t know about you, but that’s what I want for my life. I’ve tried the safe-in-my-comfort-zone thing and it’s not nearly as fulfilling as letting the Lion lead me to places that in His goodness, He knows I need to be.
There’s nothing to fear when we take up the cross with Christ. As C.S. Lewis says, he is so good. No one loves you more than He, the one who breathed life into your soul. How could that love lead you astray?
The first step of this good, but not safe relationship is always, always to connect with God in prayer. Find a quiet moment and recognize His presence in that moment. Tell Him how you feel, what your hopes and dreams are, and what you struggle with. Learn who He is from the gospels and begin little by little to imitate His ways — the way He loves, the way He forgives wrongs, the way He sees good in everything and everyone… the way He embraces His cross.
Will it feel safe to act that way? No. But the one who is all good is looking after you and He will never hurt you or lead you astray.
I’ve learned that the love of God looks like the cross. Not the safe, easy way. But the way of transformation and goodness.
He is not safe… but He is good.