Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wisdom Wednesday: Wise Words from Jon Acuff

Who is Jon Acuff? He's the blogger who runs Stuff Christians Like and author of the book of the same name. In a post today, Jon describes what I call wanting the download of wisdom without the dreaded slog through experience. He even includes one of my favorite Bible verses, Job 23:10.

But Jon doesn't stop there. He backs up to verse 9.

Jon writes that
being shaped is never easy. Becoming gold is never as easy or as quick as I would like it to be. Have you ever felt that way? Whether it’s a job that is slowly wearing you down, a relationship that feels tangled, or a dream that is dying on the vine as you work somewhere to pay the bills, life is not always easy. And to be honest, there are days when I want to yell, “Where are You, God? I catch no glimpse of You!”

But the truth for me and … you is that He is at work.

Even if we do not see Him. Even if we catch no glimpse of Him. Even if the testing weighs heavy, He is in motion. He is unchanging. He is relentless with His grace and mercy and love.

He knows the way we take.

And He will bring us forth as gold.

These truths remind me of the way Aslan is depicted in The Chronicles of Narnia books, particularly in The Last Battle, which is as the title suggests, the last story of Narnia. {*SPOILER WARNING!!*} For a good deal of the book, Aslan, who is allegorically parallel to our Lord, Jesus Christ, spends his time away from the Narnians (sound anything like Job 23:9 to you? does to me), but they mention him a great deal. They keep saying, "But he is not a tame lion," to explain all sorts of suppositions, claims, and ponderings about various actions carried out by one side or the other. Much is done in his name, but not all of it is as he would have done. And because of his long absence, some question his existence or decide that he doesn't exist.

Ultimately, Aslan does prove to the Narnians and others that he is as good, kind, and just as the "old stories" described him. But not all believe. Those who do are richly rewarded. They come through the trials of their last days and moments in Narnia "as gold," as Job 23:10 describes.

The believers, as I call them, are brought through the door into Aslan's Country, before all of the world of Narnia is destroyed. The rest of the book describes the journey "further up and further in" that the Narnians and other-worlders take in Aslan's Country. Lewis's words create such a vivid image of their final destination; for me, a sliver-size foretaste of what heaven will be like.

So often we need to remember, as Jon Acuff and Job point out, that our journey will result in what is the highest good: being with God, in a perfected state, in a perfect place... forever. And through that lens, the things of today can be less daunting.