It seems that I grew up afraid of everything. I mean, I wasn’t just afraid on my first day of school. I was terrified.
I was afraid of making friends, afraid of being beat up by enemies, afraid of competing in sports, afraid of being kidnapped, afraid of experiencing some calamitous end to my life. It didn’t help that I had an active imagination.
My parents wouldn’t let me watch scary movies when I was a kid because, if I did, I couldn’t sleep. And if I couldn’t sleep, they couldn’t sleep. I would sometimes sneak and watch movies from the doorway of my room, only to regret it when the lights went out..
One night, I watched Custer’s Last Stand and Frankenstein from the doorway of my room, only to have a vivid nightmare. I ran through the house screaming, convinced that an angry Indian was chasing me with a hatchet.
I wouldn’t understand until the fourth decade of my life that underneath my multitude of fears there lurked a shadowy, unnamed, ultimate fear.
I was afraid of the Lion.
The God-Christ figure in C.S. Lewis’ Narnia stories is a Lion named Aslan. Although I couldn’t name my deepest fear for most of my life, looking back now I understand that I was scared to death of that Lion.
I believed in the Lion, professed my faith in the Lion, prayed to the Lion, tried to obey the Lion. But I could not shake the nagging feeling that God wasn’t pleased with me. At best, I thought He was disappointed with me. At worst, I thought He was angry with me.
As it turns out, I think that by serving the Lion I was unconsciously trying to appease the Lion. I was religiously keeping that Lion at a safe distance. After all, He’s not a tame Lion.
My fear operated under cover until the Lion decided to flush it out. When He brought me face to face with my deepest fear, let me tell you, that was terrifying. But in order to approach the Lion in trust, I had to walk right through my terror of Him.
The Lion spoke to me not too long ago and shed some light on my history. As the kid who grew up afraid of everything, I locked myself behind the door of my heart in order to keep everything that frightened me on the other side of that door–especially that dangerous Lion.
But I couldn’t keep Him out. Even though I wasn’t aware of His Presence, He had been right there with me, standing guard over my life. Now He wants me to live a new way–in the awareness of His company. He wants me always to know there’s a Lion in the room.
I learned from experience that C.S. Lewis was right. The Lion isn’t safe. But He’s good.
Have you ever been afraid of the Lion?