I just want to live in one place for more than two years. This is a refrain that I’ve said to myself over and over again for a half a decade.
Transition seems to be the modern way of life. Few have long careers but series after series of jobs. Few people (singles especially, it seems) live in one place for long, and most are constantly having to snatch boxes from behind grocery stores and bribe their friends with pizza and choice beverages. And, if you’ve been single and “on the market,” you probably have had a string of awkward first dates. Change (even expected and hoped-for change) is not for wimps.
As is often the case when I am struggling with a new environment, schedule or to-do list, I flee to children’s literature. I moved to a new city, new state, and new job six weeks ago, and the Jesus Storybook Bible has barely left my nightstand. (The pages are all wrinkly … because it fell in the bathtub. Really. Sally Lloyd-Jones does not make me cry. At all. Ever.) The crinkled pages of that dear book remind me that Jesus—the one whose eyes are on us—is not only in every story of the Bible but is also in every story and chapter in my life.
Jesus, himself, was in constant transition—his whole earthly life. He left his real home and for a most of His adult life, had nowhere to lay his head. His friends, apart from a few close ones, were always changing. He moved from city to city and from town to town. The guy was on the move. Constantly. He’s not removed or insulated from transition woes—in fact, He totally gets it and is with me.
After landing in this new city and restarting an academic life, I’ve had some doubts and questions that I made the right call. I felt God had opened the door—wide. He didn’t just open the door. He blew it off its hinges. In fact, I felt a little chased—chased away from my old life and into something new. It has taken me weeks to pinpoint that emotion, but as I did, Shasta popped into my head.
Shasta, a displaced Narnian, had been on the move his whole life. He was separated from his family, lived as a slave, and was constantly being chased by this Lion. At every turn, the Lion was there pushing him on. Shasta was afraid of the Lion, but he didn’t realize that the Lion had his best interest at heart.
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 the 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.
Shasta’s journey was hard. He often felt cornered and alone—not prepared for what his circumstances demanded of him, and that Lion wouldn’t ever stop.
Shasta and I are buddies. At this point in my transition, I feel chased and a little alone, but the truth is that just like the benevolent Lion, Jesus hasn’t left me alone. He may be chasing me, but it’s on the journey He’s set out before me. He’s comforting me when I sleep. Jesus is keeping the jackals away, and He’s giving me new strength—just one morning at time.
So, when transition gets you down. Crack open your Jesus Storybook Bible and keep an eye out for Shasta’s Lion. He’s never far away.