Seasons of Dark Part 1: The Faceless Voids
You’ve been walking too long. You lost count how many times the sun rotated through the sky, seeing night claim dominance before reluctantly letting go again.
The skies that once smelled like evergreen seemed reduced to a dull greyness.
The path you walked morphed from smooth cobbled stone with a sprinkle of shiny quartz, flanked by flora and fauna, to uneven roads so unkept you wonder if anyone had walked this path for a long time.
For a week now, you wandered through the desert of iron buildings filled with automatons that called themselves people. They looked like people on the outside, but they are empty on the inside, and when you get too close, their emptiness rubs off on you.
You tried to help them the way Aslan helped you, but they didn’t respond the way you thought.
These automatons rejected Aslan once in search of their own satisfaction, and in doing so, they have been voraciously consuming anything and anyone in order to fill that void that can never be filled. In spending too much time with them, they have sapped you too. Once you have been too depleted, they take their frustrations out on you because you became useless to fill their hunger.
These were the Faceless Voids.
By the time you escaped, you are walking wounded. Your neck so stiff, feet numb from exhaustion that you can only lumber forward.
You question your purpose. You second guess your wisdom, was it from Aslan? Or did you convince yourself it was from Aslan? Humans are good at conflating their own will with God’s will to regrettable results.
“Where are you, Aslan?”
You remember when you first journeyed with Aslan. He was always in front of you leading the way, turning back every once in a while to make sure you can catch up. His loving look made the journey worthwhile, every bead of sweat on that journey were not marks of exhaustion, but badges of satisfaction. Joy had a life on its own and it spread its wings yet chose to sit on your shoulder. Now He seems silent, He is nowhere to be found. Your neck too stiff to look, body too strained to even turn your head.
In the distance, separated by miles of thorny bushes, impending darkness, and a rocky path, you see the glimmer of the North Star. That’s where Aslan was guiding you to before your memory became a blur and don’t remember the exact moment Aslan disappeared from view.
Do you continue to the North Star without Aslan? Aslan always made the journey worthwhile, now it doesn’t seem like it. Aslan didn’t even tell you what exactly to expect should you reach this North Star where the New Country lies below.
You have a choice.
Did I trust Aslan? If so, you would continue his mission for you even when every fiber of your being tells you it’s a waste of time. You lumber forward, almost like a zombie. You are too tired to go forward, but also too tired to turn around. Unable to resolve your dissonance, you unconsciously step forward.
All of a sudden, you stepped on a jagged stone. It drove you to the brink of insanity, a stark reminder of how lost you are, how far you need to go, to a place you don’t even know is what you are looking for. Aslan’s voice of gravitas and love convinced you to go with him. But He is gone from view.
But, as blood trickles from your wound, adding a signature to the path you walked. For a split second, you feel signs of life. In the darkness coming, you have silent lucidity. The blood reminded you of the time Aslan saved you after you foolishly got imprisoned by the Slave Trader and the Slave Trader demanded a gift that money cannot buy for your release. Aslan sliced a pound of flesh from his side, for in that pound was everything good in the world and more. For days as you walked together, the road had tracks of his blood as well.
Maturity landed on your other shoulder.
Maturity means to continue the last instruction of Aslan even when He is not there.
Your flesh tells you to turn around and go to the nearest watering hole and pleasure factory. After all, your flesh tells you that if Aslan left to do somewhere else, you aren’t important. The task you were going can’t be important. But you put these thoughts to death. You made the decision to be dead to sin, like the right kind of zombie.
Like some kind of zombie, you continue.
Seasons of Dark part 2: FAITH & MATURITY
Like some kind of zombie, you ignore your exhaustion, your doubts, your temptation to find satisfaction in your old ways.
Maturity means that you trust Aslan’s word even when you cannot see Him and that you continue to walk even when feelings become an anchor. Faith means even when the North Star seems too far away, every step matters.
Your shoulders feel weighted yet not burdened. When you creak your stiff neck a couple degrees on both sides, you realize that it’s not because of the daunting task, but because both Maturity and Faith have been perched on your shoulder.
Finally, after minutes turn to hours and hours turn to exhaustion, you momentary lose consciousness. You fall backward. You are afraid to hit the ground, but a part of you is relieved that this journey could be over.
Just as gravity was about to connect your head to the road whose sharp stones grinded down your feet, you feel two powerful hands breaking your fall.
These hands were strong as a tower, but light as a feather. Strong enough to break you in two, but the love that oozes from its pores tell you this will never happen.
You recognize this anywhere.
“Aslan! You were behind me all along?”
“Why did you leave my sight? Why did you allow me to feel so alone?”
“Because the New Country is not just a destination to get to. The New Country is also YOU. If I didn’t let you feel so daunted by the task, if you didn’t realize that the dangers and risks were real, FAITH and MATURITY would not be able to have found you. FAITH is only seen in the dark. MATURITY requires adversity as a catalyst. But now you also realize that even when you feel I am not around, I am always waiting patiently to catch you. I saw every single bruise on your feet. I saw the track of blood on the road, and with each drop, we take part in each other’s journey.”
You used to think of Aslan in one way, it’s hard not to think of Him in anyway other that the powerful love and grace that overwhelms you when He is near. When He is near, we want to be coddled. We want to bask in His security. But Aslan showed me another side, that it takes adversity to appreciate even more His wisdom. And, that Aslan’s grace must be framed by adversity to have the fullness of maturity.
The journey is as much as the destination itself just as Aslan’s presence is as much as His lack of presence, both have a purpose and the fact is that He would never leave you even if He prevents you from seeing Him.