It Really Hurts to Change
"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 just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off."
—Eustace Scrubb in C.S. Lewis' The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
I don't make a habit of talking about painful times in my life—times when my life has been ripped and torn and dramatically changed. It's mostly due to the fact that times like these bring me to tears and will probably always be life wounds that I will be very protective of and want to stay tucked safely away.
One of those times happened when my parents divorced many years ago. I wasn't a toddler, nor a grade-schooler, but was in my teens. Some say that it's less painful when you're older; others say it's better when you're younger. I say that no matter when divorce happens it always, always hurts. Ask anyone who has experienced divorce in their immediate families, and they will tell you this to be true.
Some of us may not feel the pain initially. Others of us deny it or try to anesthetize it with various behaviors or vices. But the bottom line is, you will be hurt and you will have wounds. But these wounds are not just painful injuries, but agents of change—if we are willing to see them in that way.
In my case, the disintegration of my family yielded a broken young woman who wandered, crying out in the wilderness for a while afterward, until years later she had finished being angry and acting out, surrendered and truly began seeking the Lord.
You may have grown up in the church, as I did, but perhaps like me you did not truly have a hunger and thirst for your Lord and Savior until later on in life. For this reason, I truly believe that the Lord allowed my family to break apart, so that I would let go, stop putting my faith and hope and trust into my family (man) and develop a dependency solely on him (God).
It's taken me a while to see this, and yes the change in me has hurt greatly. Perhaps that is why I identify so much with the character of Eustace Scrubb in C.S. Lewis' the voyage of the dawn treader, when he describes how Aslan changed him from being a dragon back into a boy and how it "hurt worse than anything I've ever felt. And yet it also yielded "the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off." I could have written those words myself.
The scene illustrates what happens when we give our lives to Christ and give up trying to do life our own way. Yes, it is painful when we are changed. But if we surrender and submit, the Lord will bless us through the bleeding and our relationship with him will be a healing balm to a wounded and weary soul.
Take it from one who has been there. When we realize that our lives are not our own, we experience freedom from whatever it is that is weighing us down and separating us from the life God has intended for us to live.
Yes, it hurts to change. But it hurts us even more when we don't.
Intersecting Faith & Life:
What are you clinging to so tightly today? Isn't it time to let go and let God change you? To mold you and make you into what he wants you to be? To clothe you in righteousness as only he can do? Nothing and no one in this world can compare to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ (Philippians 3:7). Soli Deo gloria!
**Listen to the audio/podcast version of this crosswalk devotional here.