When I was about eight years old a policeman came to my school and showed a video about the kidnaping and murder of a little girl. It was a re-enactment of a crime that happened in the local area.
“How could God let someone hurt kids?” I asked mom later that afternoon. She stirred a pot of beans and sighed.
“People make their own choices,” she said, “It’s called free will.”
“Free will? For who?” I demanded, ”Those girls didn’t want to die.”
Mom snatched my little brother off the dusty floor and wiped his nose.
“Some things we won’t understand until we get to heaven,” she replied, “For now, we trust God to be with us no matter what happens.”
Suddenly I knew how one of my favorite storybook characters must have felt. In the C. S. Lewis book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Susan wandered around Professor Kirke’s house on a rainy afternoon.
The next minute she found herself lost in a strange land.
Like me, Susan’s life hung in the balance. An evil queen wanted to destroy Susan, her friends and siblings. Their only hope was a lion called Aslan. In this make=believe land of talking creatures, Aslan represented Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
“Is he – quite safe?” asked Susan, “I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“That you will, dearie, and make no mistake”, said Mrs. Beaver; “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most of us or else just silly.”
“Then, he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
“Safe,” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
For weeks I walked around the house not knowing who to fear, an unknown stranger or a God whose goodness rippled with the fierceness of a lion.
I could not manipulate God’s goodness to give me what I longed for or destroy what I feared.
Untethered by the finite world, this same goodness drew me to the heart of God.
Not safe, but good.