Sometimes, in the midst of our life-threatening slumbers, the best thing that God can do is to give us an alarming fear.
Whether a traumatic event has occurred, or the consequences of our sins have finally caught up to us, God uses these moments – uncomfortable, unsettling and, sometimes, unexplainable moments – to give us a jolt that will help us to finish the race strong.
C.S Lewis conveys this point so beautifully in his book, The Horse and His boy.
As the protagonists were traveling to warn their friends of incoming enemies, they were slowed down because of their laziness. As they moved across the desert, they saw a lion streaking across the desert and chasing after them. Even though the horses were running as fast as they could, the lion gained distance and clawed one of the characters. Hurt and confused, they finally reached the destination. What they realized after was that because of their new sense of urgency and desperation, they made up for lost time and successfully warned their friends.
Shasta, one of the individuals who was chased, later learns that the lion was working for their good. As he complains about the encounter with the lion and how he was so unfortunate to be chased, a mysterious character responds, “I was the lion who gave the Horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time.” Shasta finally realized that if it weren’t for the lion and the fear that the lion brought, they wouldn’t have been successful.
In a lot of ways, I think that’s how God sometimes works in our lives. When we are comfortable in a lifestyle that doesn’t honor God, or when God desires to bring new changes, He often challenges us. Because the only way we will change is through God-ordained challenges.
When we are slowly drifting away from God, He suddenly wakes us, through His choice of means, and stirs in us the faith and strength that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. These challenges, like what Shasta and his friends went through, might be helping us in our current walks with God. It might be that God wants us to wake up and see the devastation that our sins bring. Or they might prepare us for a future call. It might be happening to us so that ten, fifteen, twenty years down the line, we can look back and say, “I’m glad that God taught me this lesson when I was young.”
Whatever they might be, the fear that comes from God’s changes is healthy and beneficial fear, in which God uses to help us finish our callings and race well.
So when you find yourself in a season of, “What the heck is going on? Why is this happening to me?” Be assured that God is in control, and He is doing that for your own good.