I grew up going to calm churches. If those Sundays were your only look into who God is, you might walk away thinking He was a Serious, very Reserved God who probably frowned at you if you made a peep in church. There was little room for art, clapping was only for showing respect to whoever just spoke, and dancing was a Highly Suspicious activity. Granted, this was my impression as a very young person, but it stuck with me, shaped my understanding of who God is.
So you can imagine my discomfort and confusion when I read the following bit of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe for the first time, when Aslan (the Jesus-figure in the story) rises from the dead and greets his friends:
“Oh, children,” said the Lion, “I feel my strength coming back to me. Oh, children, catch me if you can!” He stood for a second, his eyes very bright, his limbs quivering, lashing himself with his tail. Then he made a leap high over their heads and landed on the other side of the Table. Laughing, though she didn’t know why, Lucy scrambled over it to reach him. Aslan leaped again. A mad chase began. Round and round the hill-top he led them, now hopelessly out of their reach, now letting them almost catch his tail, now diving between them, now tossing them in the air with his huge and beautifully velveted paws and catching them again, and now stopping unexpectedly so that all three of them rolled over together in a happy laughing heap of fur and arms and legs. It was such a romp as no one has ever had except in Narnia; and whether it was more like playing with a thunderstorm or playing with a kitten Lucy could never make up her mind….”
Who is this God that C.S. Lewis seemed to know? A God who…plays? Reading that story stirred a longing in me. Could God really have joy? Could He delight in me to where we might someday play together? Could I dare to believe and hope for a God like that?
It started a journey for me – I wanted to know God as He really is, not as I am taught to imagine Him. And since reading the Chronicles of Narnia all those years ago I am coming to know a God who is passionate, unpredictable, playful, joyful, and inspiringly creative. Afterall, could a boring God create humor (or did we somehow one-up Him there?) or playful dolphins and kittens? Could a Highly Reserved God create pounding waves and glorious sunsets? Could He somehow create a world more wild and wonderful than He was Himself?
Ask Him today to show you where you are limiting Him, misunderstanding who He is and what He is like. To be intimate with God is to know Him as He is, and it is a gift He offers to us!
“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17