I recently watched the movie, Prince Caspian, second in the Chronicles of Narnia series. Aside from the overall quality of the film, one observation struck me. In previous battles, Aslan had run to the rescue of the Narnians. In the current conflict, however, he stood at a distance. The children were forced to “buck up” and to fight—on their own—an enemy that was much stronger and fiercer than they. But in the process they became something they weren’t before; they became heroes.
I sometimes forget that “God’s ways are higher than our ways.” I get discouraged when he doesn’t just step in and fix a broken marriage or provide work for someone who has lost his job. I fail to remember that God might be working something deeper and more substantial in them, that the struggles they encounter are necessary in making them not just “nicer” as C.S. Lewis would say, but altogether “new.”
As has been noted many times, Christianity is not a “spectator” religion. We don’t sit back and watch God solve all our problems once we are saved. Prayer isn’t a “magic pill” that makes the obstacles we face disappear. In fact, God uses the difficulties to work in us the transformation we need in order to become “little Christs.” It’s a terrible, wonderful process, and like any creative endeavor contains both agony and ecstasy. The saints call it sanctification—the place where we learn how to confront the darkness of sin, albeit with “fear and trembling.”
So if you are wondering where God might be in your present battle, why he’s not rushing to the rescue, be assured that he has not left you. He stands on the edge, using the conflict to turn you into something “new,” something with a good and holy purpose.
Buck up, my friend.