I write this from my own little spot of isolation in the world…it’s been five weeks since we first became aware that our lives for the foreseeable future would be altered. My own life did not change as much as others perhaps, as my own little brood and I have continued on with a regular routine. Every morning brings a fresh new day of homeschool, followed by house chores, regular Lysol wipe downs, and the refereeing of children to their separate corners of the house when necessary. Next day…wake up…rinse and repeat. I will say, however, that one small but very treasured blessing of our new found slower pace of life is that I have much more opportunity to read for no other reason than pure enjoyment. Something I dearly love and quite frankly have missed as my responsibilities have increased with the ages and stages of my children.
One evening this past week, I picked up a collection of books that feels to me almost like an old friend…The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis. Prompted by something I had read in an article earlier that day, I opened the section in Voyage of the Dawn Treader, in which Lucy finds herself alone in the room of the Magician in front of his great book of spells. She speaks aloud a spell “to make hidden things visible” and quickly becomes alarmed to hear the sound of footsteps close to her. Her fear, however, is suddenly changed to delight, as she stares into the face of her precious friend and master, the lion, Aslan. “ ‘Oh, Aslan,’ said she, ‘it was kind of you to come.’”
“ ‘I have been here all the time,’ said he, ‘but you have just made me visible.’
Something in that simple phrase “I have been here all the time” rang loud and clear to me that night. I considered the headlines in the news I had read just a few short minutes before…I thought of so many in our community, our country, our world who are overwhelmed by fear—fear of businesses failing, of loved ones dying, of lives and futures being changed long after this virus has ceased to be a great threat. In these moments of fear and grief, we are tempted to question, at best, God’s presence—at worst, we question His faithfulness. Is He still here, and if He is, does He care?
Consider the words of Psalm 46 with me:
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.” (vv.1-5)
I noticed that this Psalm speaks of help “in trouble” and not fearing “though the earth gives way,” though “mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,” though “waters roar and foam.” It speaks of help not in the absence of trouble but in the midst of it. So what makes the difference? How can one have peace and strength in the midst of great fear and trouble? By remembering and truly believing the truth in verse 5, “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved…” Our assurance comes from the unfaltering fact that our God is with us. His words to us are much the same as Aslan’s to Lucy, “I have always been here…”
We have the great promise of God in His Word that all things—whether we understand them or not—come from His sovereign hand. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is outside of His control.
“I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD who does all these things.” Isaiah 45:7
This truth is coupled with, and inseparable from, the truth that God does all things for His glory and our ultimate good.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
I remember hearing it put this way: God has absolute MIGHT, and He is absolute RIGHT. All power in heaven and earth belong to our God—nothing we face, no matter how helpless it leaves us, is ever too much for Him. And yet, we need not fear that power as one would fear a tyrant, because we can trust that the One who spared not His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will also with Him give us freely all things for our good. (Romans 8:32)
Yet even with these promises, He gives us more…He promises, as Aslan did to Lucy, even when we think we’re alone, when we can’t see His presence…He has always been here…and He will continue to be “even to the end of the age.”
“…And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20