Being such a fan of books, I often get asked for a summer reading list. And every year, at the top of that list I always put The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. Not only are the stories compelling for any age, the spiritual “parallel” truths that accompany the saga are amazing.
In the Voyage of the Dawn Treader, a young boy becomes a dragon. And in order for Eustace to return to his human form, he has to go through a ton of pain as the dragon skin is peeled away from him. It is a particularly agonizing process, but eventually he is a boy again.
That process is a lot like the course of a lobster. They outgrow their shells over and over again. Their growth within the current shell becomes painful as they are cramped and out of sorts. Eventually they shed the external part of their body in order to make room for the critical internal part.
Dealing with a difficult sin or even a full-fledged addiction is a lot like those processes. Something has to be pried off. And it will likely hurt to do so. Our inclinations become such a part of our being that ridding ourselves of those evil intents can indeed be painful.
The slower pace of the summer months allows most of us extra time for reflection. We can commit to spiritual progress. We can pray seriously about abandoning the “sin that does so easily beset us.” (Hebrews 12:1)
But it may be very hard to imagine the shell breaking and dealing with the painful implications of that decision. It will take effort. And it may just plain hurt. Saying “no” to ourselves is challenging.
What helps is to remember that the precious Holy Spirit is not out to hurt us, but to free us.
By grace we grow. We change. We choose another course. We say no to sin and yes to His mercy. Soon, a wonderful young boy or girl (man or woman) emerges from the dragon skin.
“So, go ahead, Lord crack the shell.” As the old hymn says, “Have thine own way, Lord, have thine own way. Thou art the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me after thy will. While I am waiting, yielded and still.”