Saving Edmund

When we were little, my mother would gather us together at bedtime to read a chapter from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I remember wondering what Turkish Delight tasted like; I worried that the wolves would catch Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, Peter, Susan, and Lucy; and I cried when the White Witch killed Aslan on the Stone Table. But perhaps I remember best of all how much I despised Edmund for allowing selfishness to turn him into a liar and a traitor.

Over Christmas break, when we were visiting Luke’s family, we watched bits and pieces of the three most recent Narnia movies with his sister Sarah. In the first movie, Lucy and Susan wake up to discover that their brother Edmund had been rescued in the night. Even though I had seen the movie multiple times, I found myself strangely gripped by what they saw…

Even now, this scene draws me in. I want to know what Aslan was saying and how Edmund felt. I want to know what that first encounter between the Lion and the traitor was like.

Often times when I watch movies, I find myself identifying myself with one or more characters. I don’t know that I ever identified strongly with any of the characters in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe— maybe a little of Lucy and a little of Peter? This time, however, I realized for the first time that I was not Lucy, not Peter, not Susan– but Edmund.

I am the one who is selfish. I am the one who puts my wants before the needs of others. I am the one who cares more about now than eternity. I am the one who needs to be rescued. I am the one who cost Jesus His life.

Too often we read the Bible and go through life thinking we are really not that bad. We can always point our finger at someone who is a much worse sinner than we are. But that is not what the Gospel tells us. No, we are Edmund. We are Zacchaeus. We are Judas Iscariot. We are Barabbas. We are Saul of Tarsus. As long as we think there is any good in us, we will never truly grasp the wonder of the Gospel. Christ died for sinners– and that is why I owe Him everything.

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” (1 Timothy 1:15)

Under God

Saint Paul's Cathedral

I’ve been reading the book With by Skye Jethani. I have not finished it yet, but just the first few chapters have been keenly insightful to my relationship with God.

Jethani talks about how many times we view ourselves in an “Under God” relationship with our Heavenly Father. This view rightly acknowledges Him as the Creator who is over us, who has the right set the moral rules and laws in this world. The problem comes when we try to manipulate God into blessing us by being morally good. Have you ever heard someone say, “How could God let this happen to me? I’ve always gone to church!” Or, “How could so-and-so be dying of cancer, they have done so many good works for God.”
This view, which started out so well, quickly turns into nothing different than that of the heathens of old, who offered sacrifices so that the rains would come, the locusts would stop or their flocks and herds would grow.
As C.S. Lewis describes, God “isn’t safe, but He is good.” We cannot manipulate Him into giving us good grades, a new car, health, wealth, or salvation. Jesus Christ didn’t save us because we were morally good, but because we could never be good enough to earn anything from God except eternal separation.
Let’s live like God really is who He says He is and that He does what He says He will do. Stop trying to manipulate Him into giving you what you want and being offended at Him when it doesn’t work. Realize that in Christ He has blessed us not because of how good we are, but only because of how good He is!