God Wants to Make Us Whole
Updated: Aug 24, 2020
Recently I underwent a medical procedure that while in the waiting room, I found myself anxious about. I was already praying for miraculous healing in relation to the medical condition, hoping that once they turned on the imaging system, they would find no trace of disease. I have prayed this prayer of miraculous healing all along but with the willingness to travel whatever path God has chosen for me (medical or divine intervention).
As the procedure started, and the portion that I was dreading was coming upon me, I fought in my prayers between “Please, let this not be the path I have to walk” to “Give me Your perfect will in this situation and grant me the peace to forbear any of the hardships.”
During this struggle, I was reminded of a scene from the book I had just finished the previous day, C.S. Lewis’ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. As some background information, Eustace is a boy who is persistently mean and that nobody really likes. On the adventure, he comes across an empty dragon’s den and decides to take a nap inside. He falls asleep upon the dragon’s treasure while thinking greedy, gold hoarding thoughts. He awakens to find that he himself became a dragon. This blunder of course can only be fixed by our beautiful Aslan, who in the Narnia series is the image bearer of Christ. One night, Aslan (who is a lion) visits Eustace to turn him back into a boy and as they are walking through the woods, they happen upon a well and the following takes place:
[Eustace recounting the story]: “I knew it was a well because you could see the water bubbling up from the bottom of it: but it was a lot bigger than most wells---like a very big round bath with marble steps going down into it. The water was as clear as anything and I thought if I could get in there and bathe it would ease the pain in my leg. But the lion told me I must undress first. Mind you, I don’t know if he said any words out loud or not.
“I was just going to say that I couldn’t undress because I hadn’t any clothes on when I suddenly thought that dragons are snake sort of things and snakes can cast their skins. Oh, of course, thought I, that’s what the lion means. So I started scratching myself and my scales began coming off all over the place. And then I scratched a little deeper and, instead of just scales coming off here and there, my whole skin started peeling off beautifully, like it does after an illness, or as if I was a banana. In a minute or two I just stepped out of it. I could see it lying there beside me, looking rather nasty. It was a most lovely feeling. So I started to go down into the well for my bath.
“But just as I was going to put my feet into the water I looked down and saw that they were all hard and rough and wrinkled and scaly just as they had been before. Oh, that’s all right, said I, it only means I had another smaller suit on underneath the first one, and I’ll have to get out of it too.
[this shedding of his dragon skin and its reappearance happens a second and a third time]
…”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. 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.
“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.”
I’ve cried a good three times over this passage, one of them being during my procedure. I know who I am. And I know who God is. I know that if it were up to me, I’d take the easy, least painful way out (not that it is wrong to humbly petition God for miraculous healing). I know that God’s ways are different, that I cannot lean on my own understanding. He is infinitely more wise than me and can see all outcomes. I know that even more than my circumstance, that God cares about me and He cares about what path will mold me to a liking of Him. He sorrows in my sorrow. He rejoices in my growth. He delights in pouring out His grace. But He is also Holy and Sovereign and He will accomplish His will in the most perfect way He sees fit. He may not answer the prayers in the way that I request, it may be even more painful than I could ever foresee. But I know one thing is for sure, that while clinging to Him, I will come out Whole. Whole in the most and deepest spiritual sense. Whole in my connection to Him. Whole in peace. Whole in joy. Steadfast and secure in His love.