The Hidden Providence of God

In The Horse and His Boy, by C. S. Lewis, there is a wonderful dialogue between Shasta, the main character, and Aslan, the Christ-figure. Shasta has gone through an incredibly difficult journey with two horses and a young lady named Aravis, and is now all alone and is feeling sorry for himself. He finds himself speaking to someone/something in a dark forest (he can only hear a voice). Listen to how what we see as bad luck or unfortunate circumstances is all under the sovereign reign and rule of King Jesus:

Shasta told how he had never known his real father or mother and had been brought up sternly by the fisherman. And then he told the story of his escape and how they were chased by lions and forced to swim for their lives; and of all their dangers in Tashbaan and about his night among the tombs and how the beasts howled at him out of the desert. And he told about the heat and thirst of their desert journey and how they were almost at their goal when another lion chased them and wounded Aravis. And also, how very long it was since he had had anything to eat.

“I do not call you unfortunate,” said the Large Voice.

“Don’t you think it was bad luck to meet so many lions?” said Shasta.

“There was only one lion,” said the Voice.

“What on earth do you mean? I’ve just told you there were at least two the first night, and–”

“There was only one: but he was swift of foot.”

“How do you know?”

“I was the lion.” And as Shasta gaped with open mouth and said nothing, the Voice continued. “I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you.”

“Then it was you who wounded Aravis?”

“It was I.”

“But what for?”

“Child,” said the Voice, “I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.”

We all desire, I imagine, for Jesus to tell us our stories; to show us the back of the tapestry of our lives, how He has woven together its various threads; to see His purposes for our suffering, our poor choices, our foolish sins. We want to be, as J. I. Packer noted, in the room that shows how all of the trains are laid out along the tracks, how they are moving and why. But as the father of a pre-adolescent Corrie Ten Boom answered her questions regarding the birds and the bees, that is luggage too heavy for creatures like us to carry right now. All will be revealed in due time; all our questions will be resolved; and even if that doesn’t mean that we get the answers we’re looking for, our hearts will rest contented in the knowledge that our God does all things well. And like Habakkuk, may God enable us to rest joyfully in His providence, no matter how dark and despairing our circumstances might be.


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