Just finished reading C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces and I lu-hu-huved it. I had never heard of it until a friend passed it along to me recently. (Or rather, she passed it along to King Pen, and I promptly confiscated it for myself.) It’s a retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche, which I admittedly didn’t know much about to begin with. Anyway, it was awesome. Clive, you had me at “I am old now and have not much to fear from the anger of gods.” I was hooked. You delivered. And it’s never enough. So, to satisfy my Lewis craving, I decided to start the Narnia books, of which I’ve read bits and pieces over the years, but never a full sitting. I am slapdab in the middle of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and came across this passage, where Mr. Beaver is attempting to describe Aslan to the children:
“You’ll understand when you see him.”
“But shall we see him?” asked Susan.
“Why, Daughter of Eve, that’s what I brought you here for. I’m to lead you where you shall meet him,” said Mr. Beaver.
“Is – is he a man?” asked Lucy.
“Aslan a man!” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-beyond-the-Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? 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.”
“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King I tell you.”
Oh, magnificent pen. I am continually awed by this man. Steady, true, inspired. For He is not safe, is He? Not by any stretch of the imagination. I think we forget that, particularly in this day and age. We like to see Him as the kind, gentle, meek Savior. The forgiver, healer, provider… But if we see only those things, we miss so much. For He is mighty, magnificent, terrifying in His splendor and power. He commands oceans and winds, His voice silences nature itself. He is God’s Champion, God’s Hand– He is not safe, oh no.
But He is good.
Love that Lewis captures that in Aslan so well. It’s thrilling, isn’t it? To approach this mighty thing, reach out our hands, and touch Him. The heart can’t help but swell at this fearsome, but benevolent Being. It is a wondrous thing to be His.
I love a book that reminds me of that.