“I go east, but he is not there. I go west, but I cannot find Him. I do not see Him in the north, for He is hidden. I look to the south, but He is concealed.” — Job 23:8, 9
In his Chronicles of Narnia, C. S. Lewis created a magical land called Narnia where the animals talked – and which he used to illustrate allegorically some important Biblical truths. The Christ-figure in the Chronicles is a majestic lion named Aslan. And, there’s a little girl named Lucy, who’s one of the children who discovers Narnia.
Now, in the Narnia book, Prince Caspian, Lewis relates a reunion between Lucy and Aslan, whom she has not seen for some time. And, it’s a tender reunion. What follows is a short, but very insightful, conversation. Lewis says that Lucy “gazed up into that large, wise face. ‘Welcome, child,’ he said. ‘Aslan,’ said Lucy, ‘you’re bigger.’ ‘That is because you are older, little one,’ answered he. ‘Oh, not because you are?’ ‘I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.'”
“Every year you grow, you will find me bigger.” That is a beautiful description of a Jesus-follower’s enlarging relationship with Jesus Christ – and our enlarging view of how big our Lord really is. The experiences that grow us the most inevitably are the experiences that hurt the most. It was only after all of Job’s almost infinite suffering that he could say to God, “My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You.” (Job 42:5)
And every experience of your life – including what you’re facing right now – is designed by your Lord to enlarge your view of Him and to deepen your relationship with Him. Now, Job never appeared on the reality TV series, “Survivor”, but he sure won his survivor challenges big-time. And he models for us the secret of survivors’ faith – the kind that makes it through the most trying, most painful, most unexplainable crucibles of your life.
That secret is found in God’s word in Job 23, beginning in verse 8. Job is in the depths of his personal valley, and he just can’t see any visible sign of God. Listen, we have all been there – the pain is so real and God seems so silent.
Alright, here’s the secret: survivors’ faith is based not on what God does, but on who He is. That’s how spiritual grownups live. You come to the place where you do not let your faith rise and fall with the circumstances – your faith is anchored in what you know God is always like; no matter what the circumstances. That’s what you trust! That’s what keeps you going when there’s not much else around you to go on.
As you cling to your Lord through the deepest of valleys, through the darkest of times, you discover, more than you ever knew before, what a mighty, majestic God you belong to. You’ll find He’ll seem bigger to you every step of the way. Oh, it isn’t that He’s grown – it’s that you have – by trusting in who your God is, not in what you God does.