Risk taking has never been my strong suit. As a child, I was perfectly content to swim laps or play games that didn’t involve the water slide or high dive perched precariously higher than I felt anything needed to be. Only a double portion of guilt and peer pressure could get me on the smallest of roller coasters. Even at a young age, I asked a lot of, “What if” questions that led to rather depressing outcomes. I never could quite understand why my brother and those around me viewed health and well-being as a small price to pay for an adrenaline rush.
A few weeks ago I ran past my childhood pool and surveyed some of the sources of summertime fear. To my surprise, nothing looked as big as I remembered it to be. In fact, quite the opposite was true. What once looked terrifyingly big now looked overwhelmingly average. Twenty years later, the same slide and high dive were in place. In reality, nothing much had changed about the place except for me.
Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience. What looked exceptionally big and terrifying or even exceptionally special and beautiful to you as a child is now quite different than you originally perceived it to be. Sometimes it can be one of the more disappointing parts of growing up.
I’ve always been drawn to the C.S. Lewis quote listed below because he reminds us that exactly the opposite is true when it comes to God.
“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.”
-Prince Caspian, C.S.Lewis-
Every year you grow, you will find me bigger. Even as I type that tears threaten to spill from my eyes. This has been a year of so much change and transition in all areas of life for me. It’s been a season of uncertainty, mixed emotions, high highs and low lows. Through it all that simple statement has never felt so true. I’ve found Him bigger not because He’s changed, but because I have. I love the mountains for much the same reason. The closer you get to them, the larger they appear. More than gratitude grows the older I get, the longer I walk with God, the more I understand His character, and the more I see His faithfulness time and again. This gratitude in who He is and what He’s done produces confidence, rest, and greater faith in what John Piper calls future grace.
“Past grace is glorified by intense and joyful gratitude. Future grace is glorified by intense and joyful confidence. This faith is what empowers us for venturesome obedience in the cause of Christ…There is a sense in which gratitude and faith are interwoven joys that strengthen each other. As gratitude joyfully revels in the benefits of past grace, so faith joyfully relies on the benefits of future grace. Therefore when gratitude for God’s past grace is strong, the message is sent that God is supremely trustworthy in the future because of what he has done in the past. In this way faith is strengthened by a lively gratitude for God’s past trustworthiness.”
Because He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), we don’t have to fear change. Because He promises that even when our hair is gray, He will be the same and take care of us, we don’t have to fear growing older (Isaiah 46:4). Because His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in weakness, we can be content even in suffering and hardship (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Because of the future grace He promises, even those of us who used to shudder at high dives and roller coasters don’t have to live in fear.
Every year you grow, you will find me bigger.
Oh for grace to trust Him more.