Skip to main content

On giving up dreams and having your skin ripped off

The Redemption of Eustace by Clang55
One of my nieces sent me this video of a Liberty University Convocation address a few years back. The speaker is Phil Vischer.

Who, you may ask?

You may not know the name, but you most certainly know his work. He's the creative genius behind Veggie Tales. (Let's all sing a little of "Oh, Where Is My Hairbrush?")

Mr. Vischer is certainly one of the best known animators ever. He certainly was very financially successful.

Until he wasn't. (Go ahead; watch the video. It's worth your time.) Let me just say that Mr. Vischer found out that his plans and God's were wildly divergent.

At one point, Mr. Vischer references this passage from C.S. Lewis' The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  Eustace - a very unlikable boy - was changed into a dragon. He finally, after a very miserable time as a dragon, allowed Aslan to help him:


Then the lion said — but I don’t know if it spoke — You will have to let me undress you. I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.
The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was jut the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off.  You know — if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.” 
I know exactly what you mean,” said Edmund. 
Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass, only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on — and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again. . . .”
What God wants for us is not always what we want. And we can be stubborn. But God is better than stubborn; God is faithful and patient. He allows us to flounder around in dragon skin. He gives us the freedom to choose the stupid dragon skin, even though it's vile and doesn't fit us at ALL. He waits.

God waits until we are finally ready to say, "This dragon skin is horrid! It's getting in the way of everything important ... And that 'everything' is God."

No dream we have, no thing we own, no item we produce is better than God. Even the good things: a great marriage, a wonderful family, a job that inspires us and others. Nope; add it all up, and it's still not more than or greater than God.

Having spent most of the past year and a half getting my skin ripped off allows me a bit of knowledge of the process. It hurts. I don't always understand. There are moments of "Why, God?? Why?!" There are dark nights that lead to ... well, darker ones.

There are wounds only God can heal - the woundedness of dragon skin, the vanity of thinking what we are and have and do is better than, more than God Almighty.

Mr. Vischer knows all this now too. And he came to the conclusion by NOT DOING ANYTHING. Well, not doing anything except (and this is a big "except"): spending time in prayer.  Then, and only then, did he see that all of his success and dreams were really just dragon skin.

And so it is for me.

Dear God, this dragon skin is horrid. I know it is not meant for me. I'm sorry that I mistook it for Your plan. I'll just wait right here with You until You reveal what is next for me. Amen.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Crossing Guard

I saw you
today
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
and
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
and
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.

Be Transfigured

From today's readings: 

Jesus took Peter, James, and his brother, John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the and his clothes became white as light.

...we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

Today we celebrate the Transfiguration. For whatever reason, Jesus brought three of His disciples to Mount Tabor to witness this miracle. They weren't sure what they were seeing, but they knew enough to throw themselves to the ground in the presence of Almighty God. St. Peter (who never did anything halfway) excitedly declares that he will erect tents on the mountain as a way of memorializing the event. But Jesus tells him and the others that they are not to tell people what they witnessed - at least not yet.

In the second reading, the requirement to be quiet has bee…