Monday, April 1, 2013

Inside Out

One of the reasons I love fiction so much is that it can help me capture important truths in a memorable way that permanently changes my mind, heart, and perspective.  One of my favorite books is The Last Battle, by C.S. Lewis.  Many of you are familiar with this last book of the Narnia series, especially since the first three books of the series have been put on film. 

At the end of The Last Battle, friends of Narnia find themselves in a losing battle against their Calormene enemies.  Eventually they are thrown into a small, dark stable, presumably to be consumed by the Calormene god, Tash.  These characters are surprised to find themselves in an entirely new place, full of sunlight and fresh air.  They are met in this new place by old characters from other Narnia books—Digory and Polly, Peter, Edmund, and Lucy.  As they try to understand what has happened, they realize that the stable door through which they were thrown was not an end but a beginning. 

Tirian, the last King of Narnia, observes, “It seems, then, that the stable seen from within and the stable seen from without are two different places.”

Tirian is answered with this comment: “Yes, its inside is bigger than its outside.”

It is Lucy’s comment that is the most significant: “In our world too, a stable once had something inside it that was bigger than the whole world.”

It took an episode from the Dr. Who series to help me realize that this concept applies to people:  In the Dr. Who episode, a character asks the Doctor: “Is everyone like you, bigger on the inside than on the outside?”

Unfortunately, I believe the answer is, “No.”  The “size” of our “insides” depends on what is going on inside.  If we go about our days focused on ourselves and intent on earning or proving our worth and/or righteousness, our insides will shrink.  Likewise, if we choose the path of bitterness, if we make ourselves feel better at the expense of others, or if we excuse our bad attitude and behavior, we will become an empty shell of a person.

On the other hand, if we go about our days focused on our Lord and intent on following, pleasing, and glorifying Him, our insides will expand.  Likewise, if we practice forgiveness, encourage others for who they are in Christ, and humbly confess and repent when we are confronted by our sin, we will become like the stable—much bigger on the inside than on the outside.  May it be so.