In C.S. Lewis’, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Eustace Scrubb, as a result of bad choices, turns into a dragon. He is in despair and can do nothing to save himself from this hideous state, until a lion leads him to a mountaintop where he discovers a beautiful  bubbling pool surrounded by green grass and marble stone. When Eustace sees the pool, he knows it will ease his pain and bring healing, but the lion tells him to undress before submersing himself. Being a dragon, Eustace believes that means shedding his skin, so he does, three times, and after each sloughing, he finds it was no use, he can’t, no matter how hard he tries, shed his dragon skin…

“Then the lion said, ‘You will have to let me undress you.’ I was afraid of his claws, I  can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it. The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off…He peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was, lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been…”

“What do you think it was, then?” asked Eustace.

“I think you’ve seen Aslan,” said Edmond.

I have been under the knife of my Aslan and it devastates me.  Sometimes it’s deep contrition, sometimes it’s heartbreaking compassion, sometimes it’s the truth of Scripture, sometimes it’s just a desperate longing for God, but each time it is healing if not painful. Each time I am changed. Every encounter is transformative and worth every tear and every ache for the joy set before me.  I am always left smaller than I was, and God is always bigger.

Some of you know exactly what I’m talking about. You’ve sunk deep into the hand of God and emerged changed. Some may think my ramblings odd. But keep honestly seeking, and someday perhaps you will know the bliss and devastation of an encounter with the Living God. There is nothing else that can compare to communion with your Divine Creator, and there is no greater joy and satisfaction to be found.

Getting tangled up with God is messy and beautiful, devastating and liberating, exhausting and energizing. Don’t miss it. It’s the best part of this life.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Point out anything in me that offends you,

and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Psalm 139:23-24


5 thoughts on “Messy Beautiful and Devastating

  1. As I heal, I grow stronger, and then I can be healed more. It seems I am having the right experiences at the right time, producing further healing. Messy. Yes. Devastating. Yes. Beautiful, oh, yes, yes.

  2. That is one of my all time favorite scenes in the Dawn Treader. I remember reading it to the boys at bedtime and coming across that scene. I had forgotten it, and reading out loud I had to stop and read it again. Such a powerful image.

    When I read it now, and reading your post….I just realize how much more I want to be changed.

    1. My favorite too! Each Narnia story has a “moment” for me that moves me to tears. My daughter doesn’t get why I start to cry as I read aloud to her. Someday she will…

      I too want to be changed from glory to glory!

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