Spoiler Alert…

It happened again. I sat in the movie theater, barely seeing the preview of the Olympics flash by me because I was so captivated by the song blasting through the speakers. I’m shocked at how the very words and warnings we need to hear as a culture are consistently flooding our iPods, theaters, and TVs, and we still don’t seem to get it.

Fellow Christians, have you heard the words of Katy Perry’s single “Rise”?

Listen…really, and consider what we’re up against.

“I won’t just survive/Oh you will see me thrive

Can’t write my story/I’m beyond the archetype.

I won’t just conform/no matter how you shake my core,

‘Cause my roots/they run deep.

Oh ye of so little faith./Don’t doubt it. Don’t doubt it.

Victory is in my veins./I know it. I know it.

And I will not negotiate./I’ll fight it. I’ll fight it.

I will transform.”

I’m stunned yet again at how God can shout His Truth, using the voice and talent of someone who doesn’t acknowledge Him (that I’m aware of).

This was back in the summer, obviously, since this song was used as a TV spot for the Olympics. But I don’t need to reiterate that we are embroiled in a battle that goes far deeper than the crunch of extreme sports. Whether we’d like to acknowledge it or not, we are faced with the eerie potential of a leader taking office who will likely detonate what has been simmering beneath the surface. We’ve seen it coming…or maybe we haven’t…a mounting opposition to the Gospel and those who choose to live it out loud.

But this isn’t a political rant as much as a cry for the sleeping children of freedom to awaken. And I don’t just mean Americans. I mean those of us who have been brought from death to life, who know the Freedom that comes from being filled with the Spirit of God–the Founder of Life and True Liberty. The words of Perry’s song give voice to what’s in my heart and what I’m hearing resound from believers across the nation.

This is not a political battle. It’s a spiritual one. We’ve known this all along: “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against…the powers of darkness in the heavenly places” Ephesians 6:12. But it’s more apparent now than I’ve ever seen it–all across the world. Darkness is becoming more and more manifest in broad daylight, stripping off its masks and pretensions, no longer hiding its design. But what happens when the sky darkens? The stars shine brighter.

“The path of the righteous is like the dawn, shining brighter and brighter until full day,” Proverbs 4:18.

Listen to the words of this chorus:

“When the fire’s at my feet again

And the vultures all start circling/they’re whispering,

‘You’re out of time’

But still I rise.

This is no mistake/no accident

When you think the final nail is in/think again

Don’t be surprised/I will still rise.”

This is not the time to negotiate. This is not a time for compromise. And this is certainly not a time for panic and defeat. This is the time to keep our windows open, like Daniel, and pray to the God of heaven, Who is not planning on abdicating His Throne simply because a “progressive” culture does not favor Him. I believe God has so much more for this country and we, His People, should not be ashamed. We should not be full of anger, fear, and strife. We have the opportunity to stand firm in our faith and resist the enemy, knowing that these same kinds of trials are happening to our brothers and sisters all over the world (1 Peter 5:9). This is a time for unity. This is a time to stand.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what the future holds for this country, for the world, for me, even. But I do know one thing–two, actually. God is still God and He will never quit or be deposed or voted out. He still has a Plan and He’s calling His People to wake up and shake off our slumber to be part of it. Otherwise, we will be scattered by circumstances and live in confusion and despair and disillusionment. That is not how we were meant to live.

I want to encourage everyone who believes–it’s not over. No matter the outcome of the elections. God is not going anywhere, and nor should we. Remember it’s not so much about who you are as it is about Whose you are! I don’t know who our next president will be, but I do know the One Who is Victorious: Jesus the Great I AM. My God. My King. And that is a Victory celebration I know I will get to take part in.

The Word of God is clear. “Today, when you hear His Voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 3:15).

“In the final days, flattery will corrupt those who abandon the promise, but those who know their God will be strong and take action (Daniel 11:32).

We serve a Mighty God and He is among us. He will never leave us or forsake us. That’s why I titled this post “Spoiler Alert.” Because we know the ending of all this. Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our Faith. If we keep our eyes on Him, we will always win.

“As for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast Love, answer me in your saving faithfulness” (Psalm 69:13).



Like a Lioness

Lucy and Aslan

I’m sure a lot of people can say this, but I’m going to also…Narnia changed my life.

First the books and all their charming mystery in C. S. Lewis’ enigmatic style, and then the breathtaking cinematic version that came out around my 15th birthday. Now I’m twenty-five and I am still spellbound by Narnia. My heart still freezes when Lucy approaches the wardrobe, races when she and Susan leap onto Aslan’s back, and jumps into my throat when Aslan lets out a roar that shatters the witch’s evil. The joy that rushes through my veins when the great lion steps out of the tent to greet the children is more than just pleasure from a cinematic experience. Aslan is meant to represent Someone Else. The Divine Lion of Judah, who has won His Victory and shares it with His Children. The King who has called us out of the kingdom of darkness into His marvelous Light. The One who captivated C. S. Lewis’ heart, and later, mine.

Of the four Pevensie children, Lucy was always my favorite. Unhampered by Peter and Susan’s pride or Edmund’s selfishness, the youngest sister is all innocence and wonder, leading the way through the wardrobe and taking Narnia for what it is.

When Aslan crowns her Queen Lucy the Valiant at the end of the first film, I always felt a rush of pleasure mixed with longing. How I wanted my Lord to describe me as His valiant one. What would I have to do in order to be known that way?

As a young teenager immersed in the excitement of the saga, it was easy to think that there was a lot of action involved in being valiant. But looking back now, I see a much different picture. Of all the siblings, Lucy does the least amount of fighting, planning, and directing. She’s the smallest, the youngest, and is given a flask of healing oil and a tiny dagger as gifts, while her sister and brothers are given bigger weapons. She is the diplomat, interacting the most with the creatures of Narnia, quicker to make friends than enemies.

Most importantly, she always reminds the others of Aslan.

From the moment she first saw Him, Lucy was captivated by the Great Lion King and she carries in her heart an equal mixture of reverence and adoration for Him that makes their relationship a beautiful thing to behold. That’s always been my favorite thing about Lucy. But it’s also what makes her valiant.

She runs to Aslan.

My favorite scene in the movie Prince Caspian is in the heat of the final battle. Hope is waning fast for Narnia’s weary troops. Everyone races to the river, where they encounter Lucy calmly walking out onto the bridge, into the hordes of advancing soldiers. The armies crash to a stop in confused wonder as the small girl stands there, smiles at the lion beside her, and simply pulls out her tiny dagger. When the enemy soldiers launch themselves at her, Lucy steps back to make way for Aslan’s earth-shattering roar. It’s what the armies of Narnia have been waiting for…not all that patiently.

Lucy is able to stand strong and calm in the midst of danger because she recognizes that the One standing beside her has all the resources she lacks. While the others worry and argue and scheme, she calls to their minds who really defeated their enemies in the past. While the others sleep, she gets up to follow Aslan into the woods. She isn’t focused on displaying her own physical prowess or battle skills. She just knows who can win the battle, so that’s who she runs to. Her battle plan is to step back and let Aslan do what He does best.

During their talk in the forest, Lucy comments to Aslan that she wishes she were braver. Aslan simply smiles wide and declares that if she were any braver, she would be a lioness.

Valiance, courage, bravery–it all comes from spending time with the King. When we know Who He is and who we are in Him, we are able to step out into whatever battles we’re facing and boast in our tiny daggers and weak stature because we know our God has a chance to display His Might in us.

His Presence is what makes me what I can’t make myself…valiant.

Aslan and Lucy