My family and I love spring and summer more than any other time of the year. We are outdoor people! For me, it is the time of year when nature speaks of new life. The flowers are blooming and the trees are producing new leaves. The warm air really makes me feel refreshed and alive. With spring the long, long winter has ended and now warmer days are in sight.
In C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, we are told about Narnia being a place where it is “always winter but never Christmas.” Narnia was under a curse and the white witch which metaphorically represented Satan had dominion. That is until Aslan arrived in Narnia! If you remember, Edmund, Peter, Susan, and Lucy discovered Narnia by stepping through the professor’s wardrobe. They encountered a world full of surprises. While trying to find Mr. Tumnus, Lucy’s new friend (a faun), they found hospitality at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. It was there that Mr. Beaver told them about Aslan.
Lucy inquired, “Isn’t He safe?” Mr. Beaver replied, “Of course He isn’t safe but He is good.” We know in Lewis’s Narnia Aslan represents Jesus. Aslan is the King of the wood and came to fulfill prophecy. Jesus is King of Kings and He came to fulfill Biblical prophecy. Mr. Beaver stated, “Aslan is on the move!” Likewise, I sense the roar of a dangerous Lion who is on the move!
Where did we get the idea that living as a Christian would be safe? On the contrary we are told that we would face trouble. Jesus said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV).
The local church has always prayed for safety but those prayers for safety mainly focused on those traveling or for those in harm’s way (i.e., missionaries, military, travelers, first responders, and those playing contact sports). Times have changed and it seems now we are living in a time of even greater uncertainty. For the last few years we have witnessed the necessity for local churches to have safety policies and procedures. It has been proven that having trained safety (security) teams in place saves lives. Now, with the coronavirus quickly spreading throughout the world we see that safety measures are no longer a choice but a governmental mandate.
With an invisible enemy like the coronavirus safety teams are ineffective. Safety has become a priority to our society and among the local church. This is not a bad thing. We should do all that we can to remain safe and to protect others. However, as Christians let us not forget that we have an enemy that desires to destroy us. Living the Christian life is not always safe but it is good. The enemy might come as a betrayer, a terrorist, or an illness. The world is not a safe place. It never has been. It is the age old battle between good and evil.
Jesus said, “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:18-19 NKJV). If we are living for Jesus we can expect the world to hate us. We should pray to the Lord for safety but more than praying for safety we should pray for courage. As we walk “in His steps” we will find ourselves in dangerous territory.
Yes, Aslan is on the move and the world will fight against Him. The world will fight against us because we belong to Jesus. I am not advocating fear but reminding us that we follow a Lion that is “not safe but He is good.” He is not safe in that as we follow Him we will face danger. We will be hated by those that hate the Lion. We must not fret though because our Lion is Jesus, our true Shepherd and He looks after us, His sheep!
First, He looks after us in His Person. We have a place of refuge in God. He promised never to leave us nor forsake us (Joshua 1:9, Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5). He is our Emmanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23). We can find a shelter and safety under His wings (Psalm 91).
Second, He looks after us in His Provision. The Apostle Paul teaches us to “Put on the Whole Armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11-18). When we pray we access a spiritual armament that no evil can penetrate. Each piece of the armor is vital and is activated as we live, move, and have our being in Christ (Acts 17:28).
Third, He looks after us in His Power. It is not in our might that we overcome but by His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6). He has equipped us with the Holy Spirit so that we can witness for Christ (Acts 1:8). 2 Timothy 1:7 reads, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Fourth, He looks after us in His Purpose. Nothing shall happen to us unless God allows it to happen. He is in control. Romans 8:28 is still in the Bible! “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Perhaps, you are thinking, “Well this guy is just sermonizing and making light of the problem our world has encountered with the coronavirus.” On the contrary my heart is very burdened as a pastor that is ministering by internet and telephone instead of in person. Furthermore, as a husband and father my priority is the safety of my family. We are practicing social distancing, wearing protective mask when in crowds, and abiding with the stay-at-home order. We must use common sense and use the means available to us so we can remain healthy. My point is simple. Be ready. At any moment things could shift in any direction and we must be “strong and very courageous!” Why? Because Aslan is on the move!