Recently, my little sister asked me a question: Is there any need to be faithful to God, since someone that is unfaithful can still come back to God, and through mercy even overtake those who have been faithful? Even looking at the parable of the lost sheep, and those labourers that were employed in the morning, evening and even the 11th hour?
This question will form the burden of my 2-part write-up on this topic. The first part will be handling the first question and the second part will be discussing the parables therewith presented.
One of the greatest Christian novels I have read in recent times is THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA by C. S. Lewis. It is an ancient novel, but a great one. I am including in this write-up an exchange that took place in Part 4 of the series (PRINCE CAPSIAN). Narnia was under attack from enemy forces, and the Dwarf was escorting the four sons of Adam (2 boys and 2 girls) to go and save the land. As they were hurrying, following the route they felt more sure of, Lucy (one of the heroines of the novel) looked up and sighted Aslan (the Creator Lion, a type of Jesus Christ in the novel), and she felt that He (Aslan) would want them to follow a different route from the one they were following. However, because only she saw Aslan, while the others didn’t, they prevailed on her and followed another route different from the one Aslan wanted them to follow. Of course they hit dead end hours later and had to reverse. Later on, as they were resting somewhere, tired from their futile journeying, Lucy heard the voice of the Lion, and traced the voice till they met. The following conversation ensued between them:
“Aslan, Aslan. Dear Aslan,” sobbed Lucy. “At last.”
The great beast rolled over on his side so that Lucy fell, half sitting and half lying between his front paws. He bent forward and just touched her nose with his tongue. His warm breath came all round her. She gazed up into the large wise face.
“Welcome, child,” he said.
“Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger.”
“That is because you are older, little one,” answered he.
“Not because you are?”
“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”
For a time she was so happy that she did not want to speak. But Aslan spoke. “Lucy,” he said, “we must not lie here for long. You have work in hand, and much time has been lost today.”
“Yes, wasn’t it a shame?” said Lucy. “I saw you all right. They wouldn’t believe me. They’re all so—” From somewhere deep inside Aslan’s body there came the faintest suggestion of a growl.
“I’m sorry,” said Lucy, who understood some of his moods. “I didn’t mean to start slanging the others. But it wasn’t my fault anyway, was it?”
The Lion looked straight into her eyes.
“Oh, Aslan,” said Lucy. “You don’t mean it was? How could I—I couldn’t have left the others and come up to you alone, how could I? Don’t look at me like that … oh well, I suppose I could. Yes, and it wouldn’t have been alone, I know, not if I was with you. But what would have been the good?”
Aslan said nothing.
“You mean,” said Lucy rather faintly, “that it would have turned out all right —somehow? But how? Please, Aslan! Am I not to know?”
“To know what would have happened, child?” said Aslan. “No. Nobody is ever told that.”
“Oh dear,” said Lucy.
“But anyone can find out what will happen,” said Aslan. “If you go back to the others now, and wake them up; and tell them you have seen me again; and that you must all get up at once and follow me—what will happen? There is only one way of finding out.”
When I first read this book, I had to stop at this point and took some time to reflect. At that season of my life, I was in error about something which was going on in my life. Though for a long time I felt like God wanted me to lay that issue on the altar, but I held on to it… for years. Though I have known it for some time, but as I read the conversation between Lucy and Aslan the Lion, it struck me with a note of grief: TIME HAS BEEN LOST. TIME I WILL NEVER GET BACK.
I will speak with all humility and with all consciousness of the help of God upon my life and yours too, but I must write things as I see them in the light of God’s truth. I doubt, my beloved brothers and sisters, if anyone of us will ever in this life be the best of ourselves. Do you see our Lord Jesus, how he walked with His Father, never missing the will of God at any point in His life, from the time of His birth to His death? That is how we should have lived our lives, in order to be the best of ourselves.
All the times we lost, all the years we spent in sin and worldliness, all the hours spent in pornography, and sexual immorality, all the energies and efforts spent on ungodly and unapproved relationships, are times lost that can never be regained again. Opportunities has been passed on, privileges lost, and chances missed as we walked about those years in the lust of our own minds.
That the Father forgave us, and in His magnanimity had hidden from us the full extent of our foolishness, this does not mean that our years of wandering in the flesh did not have consequences that are to, a great extent, irreparable. Lucy asked the Lion what would have happened had she obeyed the Lion at the first time, and He said, “To know what would have happened, child? No. Nobody is ever told that.”
It is true that the Lion woke them up and rushed to meet the battle, and they were able to save Narnia; but the truth was that in those hours that they wandered in disobedience and failed to follow the leadings of Aslan, people died in the battle at Narnia who were not supposed to have died. Though the battle was ultimately won because the counsel of the Almighty cannot be thwarted; but lives were lost in those hours that would never again be raised from the dead until the resurrection day.
That God, in His omnipotence, does factor in our stupidity and carelessness in his overall plan for mankind’s salvation, does not mean that He does not mourn everyday (in a sense) on account of losses incurred because the necessary vessels for conveying God’s mercies are still wallowing in their sins and weaknesses.
Hence, it is a gross misappropriation of Grace, and a lack of understanding of the workings of God, as well as a real sign of utter selfishness when all that concerns you is that a man returned to God and God forgave him/her. Did it ever occur to you that in those years that man walked in his sin and carelessness, terrible losses were incurred in the kingdom? They will not be told what they had done (such knowledge is only left to the Heavenly inner caucus), neither will we. The Grace of God will continue to be in abundant supply and constantly be communicated to all men regardless of the losses being incurred on account of their stupidity.
Now, this is not to put you into mourning and grieving mood. That is not what God wants. So much time has already been lost that God now wants each of us to arise, from where God met us, and begin to do as Heaven shows us. We call it the principle of “henceforth – no longer”. It is the principle with which I am racing now. I cannot sit back and mourn the past; neither does God want me to. He says to me, “the past is gone; I have taken care of it by the blood of Christ. The battle now is this, what will you do from now henceforth?” So, it is strange for a child of God to sit down and wonder if it is necessary to be faithful to God, since despite all your faithfulness, someone with great amount of years spent in sin and faithlessness will still ‘overtake’ you. I don’t even know what we even call ‘overtake”, because if Heaven had shown you what that man would have been if God had him earlier in life, you will not consider his speed as an overtaking, because the fact that you are still even seeing his back is a clear indication to heaven that the man has indeed lost time.
The race of God is not measured in the same terms the race of the earth is measured. The competition is not to out-run another man, but to finish the race, according to the speed, ability and course that heaven set for you. The challenge is, how much of the mark, how much of the goal of God for your life will you be able to achieve? That is what matters, not the concept of overtaking. I do tell my children in the Lord that they are very much allowed to overtake me in anything. I tell them that if they ever see any dimension in God that they can press into, that they should not allow me to be a hindrance to them. But I tell them that they will never overtake me in one thing: and that is in being available for God. They will never overtake me in loving God, spending and being spent for Him.
So, thank God you met God whenever you met Him. Now face forward and see how much you can recover of the time you lost living in the flesh. And, if you are still living in the flesh, well, I can only say, “it is a pity.” How I wish you can arise, drop that thing that holds you down, the weight and the sin, and then run, with perseverance, the race that is set before you. When the race is over, we will now count the mile.
GRACE TO YOU.