I caught her at it again today. Blonde curls and white little bare feet, standing on the deck in the sprinkling rain and roaring into the forest. Roaring with all her 4-year-old might, then traipsing back into the house, bottom lip quivering. "He didn't roar back." "Who, baby?" "Aslan. He just won't roar back."
She comes by it honestly. We named our Wildflower after C.S. Lewis' little heroine, the one who followed Aslan though dark forests and across the sea and up into the heart of heaven itself. It's been our prayer since her name was first spoken over her that she would fiercely love and chase after the King the way her namesake did. But today, her precious trust and tender faith were met with silence, and I didn't know what to tell her.
I lost my Papa last month. The night he died, I sat and watched old family videos, listening to his booming voice as tears poured down my face. Christmas morning, family vacations, there he was towering nearby as I played and danced and sang, the same age as my Wildflower is today. His death has felt like a wall crumbling, like a piece of the foundation under my feet breaking away. It has been the biggest blow in a hard season, a season where I have asked many times "Why isn't He roaring back?"
We want that so much, don't we? We want our fears and anxieties to be met with a strong roar, a conquering and victorious word, a declaration of power. We want the promise of the not-yet to be the right-now. We want Thy Kingdom Come, and we want it soon.
When bad things happen, people tend to question God's power. But for me, the question isn't "Is God sovereign?". I'm too much of a Presbyterian to get hung up on that one. No, no, the haunting question that surfaces in those quiet, lonely moments is "Is He good?" I fall under the delusion that his glory and my joy are at odds, and his power will reign at my expense.
We see our little heroine asking often in Prince Caspian "Why hasn't he come yet?" Around every corner, she longs to see him and with every trial and failure, she invokes his name, "But where is Aslan?" She waits for him to stomp the enemy like last time, but, just as her faith begins to falter, she instead wakes to find him dancing in the forest, beckoning her to simply enter his presence. They walk and she buries her face in his warmth and realizes that his nearness alone is the victory. He is bigger and grander than ever before, His power more majestic as she becomes more aware of the weakness within herself.
You see, we have a King who does more than roar. We have in Jesus a Savior who sits by the graveside and weeps bitterly with his friends. We have a Master of the Feast who turns common water into the best of wine. We have a Healer who gently touches our open sores and walks among our lepers. We have a Leader who sits with the outcast and broken, and gives them a home and a name. The victory of the cross has sealed us, and one day, there will be the final triumphant shout of victory, and then, dear hearts, will the real roaring begin.
But until then, this is what I will tell my Wildflower: in those moments when you most want to hear him roar, quiet your heart and listen. Listen closely, little one, and in those moments of rest and waiting, that is when you will hear him; not roaring, but singing.
You'll hear a song that began before the stardust settled into place, in a voice sweeter and richer than the heavens themselves. You'll hear a love song with your own name in it, a song of rescue, devotion, sacrifice, and redemption. A song of delight and rejoicing. A song of promise and of hope.
Your job, my little lioness, is not to roar into the darkness, but to enter his presence and sing along. It's the best battle cry I know.