If you’ve been around the Story Warren for any length of time, chances are you’ve encountered the famous passage in CS Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe where Lucy asks if Aslan is safe. The beaver replies, “ ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”
I usually hear this passage quoted in reference to the various trials and sufferings we face as believers. Following Jesus isn’t safe. It’s the craziest, riskiest thing you could ever do. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized “not safe” meant “dangerous.” And it comforted me.
I was reading the passage in 2 Samuel 22 in which David refers to God as “my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation” (v.3). Now, I had passed over the phrase “horn of my salvation” hundreds of times without a second glance, but this time my attention was piqued. Was this some sort of musical instrument heralding God’s victory? Was this some sort of sheep metaphor?
Nope. It’s a weapon. A deadly ox horn used to gouge your enemies. (John Piper elaborates more here. )
That got me thinking; if I were to hide behind something or someone, it’s because I believe that they are just as, if not more, dangerous than the thing I am hiding from. If a bear is coming at me, I want to get behind a lion, not a bunny. The lion is deadly, and my bunny, vicious as he is, doesn’t stand a chance against a bear.
So often we prefer to place all our focus on the “God of the New Testament.” We like to show our children Jesus, because he seems “safe.” But this same Jesus, being one with the Father, flooded the world, sent deadly plagues, rained down fire on cities, and collapsed fortresses. And let’s not forget that Revelation tells us that Jesus will return with a sword, ready to “strike down the nations” (Rev. 19:15).
Why do our children need this God?
If your children are anything like mine, they are hardwired for justice. Their cries of “that’s not fair!” echo throughout my home on a daily basis. And when they are wronged, they want justice. (Strangely enough, as soon as the fault is their own, they conveniently remember grace.) We are built for it. It’s why we love when the villain gets his comeuppance at the end of a book or movie. It’s why adults love a good crime drama. We need to see evil vanquished and good restored.
Scripture is clear that vengeance belongs to God, and as believers, we are to leave justice in his hands. We are to be lovers of mercy…but how do we reconcile that with the horrors around us? The human trafficking, the bombings, the shootings, and the persecution of believers around the world. How will our children hold the brokenness they will inherit with hope?
We have to believe that one day, this will all be made right. That our God is dangerous and powerful enough to conquer even the wickedest and mightiest of foes.
So give them the fullness of God. The merciful, tender, glorious, powerful, dangerous, majestic God of the entire Bible.
My own little Lucy struggles with lots of anxiety and fear at night. So often we have prayed aloud over her “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” But recently, we hung a large blanket of Aslan over her bed to keep watch through the darkness.
“It’s scary,” her little sister protested.
“I know,” she replied. “I love it.”