In this final part I will discuss a third theme that stood out for me when looking at “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” and reflecting on my own life: transformation.
If there is anything I can relate to personally, I guess it must have been the transformation of Eustace, first from a self-righteous little boy into the dragon he actually was and than back into a boy but a different one. The past forty five years I have lived a life turned away from God, thinking that secular humanism was the answer, that we did not need God if he existed at all. Very much like Eustace I guess I had turned into a dragon, that wanted to change for the better but no matter how hard I tried I just could not seem to “undragon” myself. Running around in circles, trying out the different self-help motivational stuff that market is bombarded with, looking at all the different belief systems, the new age thing to at least fill up the spiritual gap. All to no avail. I have had to learned the hard way what “The Secret” is. It has nothing to do with all the new agey stuff that is being presented in this best seller. THE SECRET IS THAT GOD WORKS FROM THE INSIDE OUT while all the self help stuff is based on the concept of from the outside in. I guess very much like Eustace, the change comes when you first learn to see who you really are and believe me you do when God’s at work in you. And I guess that with my conversion the process of “undragoning” really started.
The boy that resulted from the undragoning by Aslan was different, yes it was Eustace again but a different Eustace. When asked what it was like Eustace describes the pain “but is was a good sort of pain.” Again I can relate to that, it hurts when you see yourself as who you really were and if you have to give up the things that were so typical for your life. And that is what happened when I handed over the wheel to Jesus, when God and God’s became center of my life and focus.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread,
and forgive us the wrong we have done
as we forgive those who wrong us.
Subject us not to the trial
but deliver us from the evil one.
Now there are different translations of this prayer but why I am putting it out here is for that one sentence that keeps on going through my head: “your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Transformation so it appears to me now comes from the peace that comes from the freedom that is associated with a life in Christ and Christ in you. It is in doing His will, instead of your own that we find this true freedom. And Jesus was of course the best illustration of this truth.
If we look at Jesus, we see total freedom but at the same time in total dependence not of his own strength but of his Father. Free from sin, could not be tempted, free of death, free of the laws of nature (gravity, death, sickness), able to override nature (calm the storms, heal the sick, raise the dead), yet in all of his life Jesus focus was on his Father and His will and plan.
I have said it on many an occasion I seem to be better at failing to do God’s will than doing it. At the same time so it seems, the chance of heart we know as repentance does set in motion substantial change and while I regularly fail, I seem to be getting better at not failing. In the book “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” we read how after the undragoning, Eustace was different and although there were relapses, A PROCESS OF HEALING WAS STARTED.
Sometimes I think salvation is not just about being forgiven for our sins but most of all about being saved from the illusion of sin: beginning to see past the self-centered and destructive pleasure and recognizing things for what they really are and what the real price is. Temptation does not tell you what the costs are, it just tells you about the benefits. Through God, we are learning to see and resist.
We are not left to our own devices: God left us a Holy Spirit to guide us through it all just like Lucy here in the picture above. He will show us what it is we are really doing. He loves us enough to not let us live out our mistakes.
In “Mere Christianity” Christianity C.S. Lewis presents God’s radical invitation to each of us:
“Make no mistake. If you let me I will make you perfect. The moment you put yourself in my hand, that is what you are in for, nothing less or other than that. You have free will and if you choose you can push me away. But if you do not push me away, understand that I am going to see this job through.
It is with this in mind that I understand Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians:
16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
We are full circle in that through Aslan we are presented a highly balanced image of Jesus as being NOT SAFE BUT GOOD. It takes faith to embark on the journey, and it is through faith that we persevere in what He set out for us. It becomes all about His plan and will for us as opposed to our plans and will for Him. In all this I find that we are not just saved but actually taken by the hand to be transformed to become no longer the person we want to be (whether or not for God) but the person He wants us to be. Praise God for making His changes.