“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 haven't read The Chronicles of Narnia, I highly recommend it. It may be a children's book, but sometimes we need to hear deep truths in simple ways; we are still God's children, after all. In the passage above, Mr. Beaver makes a clear distinction between Aslan being good and being safe; surely, they are different characteristics. "He isn't safe, but he is Good. He's the king, I tell you." That may be a quote about a fictional lion, but C.S. Lewis's is really writing undeniable truth about our very exiting God. The Lion of Judah. He is good and his mercy endures forever.
We know incredibly little about goodness compared to God. All we know is what scripture reveals to us and what goodness He has shown to us every single day throughout our lives. Many of us feel that God is good because He keeps us safe. After all scripture does tell us,"The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him (Nahum 1:7)." I'm not saying God is unsafe, but do not be mistaken: God is a mighty warrior, the defender of that which is His. If you pause now to read Psalm 18 you will get a better understanding of why God "is not safe." David wrote it better than I ever could. Simply put, I would hate to be on the wrong side of the battle of good vs. evil, that much I know to be true.
Goodness is an Action
If you have been walking with Christ for some time, you know that the Christian life is one that is full of paradoxes. The "good" that we hear about in today's society is not ultimately the good that Jesus teaches about in the Bible. It has a much lower standard and typically revolves around the self. Hopefully, at some point in our spiritual journey, the things of the world (food, drink, clothes, accessories, relationships) that we once thought satisfied our desires no longer do, and they might not necessarily be bad things! But when you taste and see that the Lord is good, it is impossible to satisfy that deep, deep hunger with anything else. Jesus even goes as far as saying, "Only God is truly good (Mark 18:10)." How then, do we live a life of goodness? Here are a few passages that might help answer that:
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
-Romans 12: 9-13
If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
In the last passage above, Jesus gives us the difficult charge of carrying our crosses with him because he knows that no one can come to the Father accept through Him. When we can declare whole-heartedly that Jesus is Lord, we will be saved, our eyes will be opened and we will see God display His goodness around the world in ways we cannot even imagine and in places we never saw His goodness before. He longs to show us.
This life is not always safe and easy, but it is GOOD with Christ as our Eternal King. His Kingdom is glorious, HE is good, and He will reign with the Father forever.
Pick up your cross, today. Let tomorrow worry about itself. God wants to display His goodness to others by displaying it through you. This is our calling in life. Picking up your cross today may mean showing goodness towards someone else who really needs it and sacrificing your time to do so. It may mean trusting that God is good even though it is hard to see now.
Even if you don't see it, God is good
Even if you don't believe it, God is good.
"...Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
God, thank you that you are good whether I feel it or not. Who you are is not dependent on how I feel. You are at all times, in all ways, holy. Holy, Holy, Holy. Thank you for displaying your glory through all creation, your goodness is evident and the darkness cannot overcome your light. You alone are truly good, God, and I long to live a life that is honorable and pleasing to you- a life that you would truly say is good. Guide me, Holy Spirit, to be obedient to the teachings of Jesus and help me to pick up my cross daily, starting today.