"We have a long journey to go. You must ride on me.”
“But this is a mount that doesn’t need to be guided and never grows tired. He rushes on and on, never missing his footing, never hesitating, threading his way with perfect skill between tree trunks, jumping over bush and briar and the smaller streams, wading the larger, swimming the largest of all. And you are riding not on a road nor in a park nor even on the downs, but right across Narnia, in spring, down solemn avenues of beech and across sunny glades of oak, through wild orchards of snow-white cherry trees, past roaring waterfalls and mossy rocks and echoing caverns, up windy slopes alight with gorse bushes, and across the shoulders of heathery mountains and along giddy ridges and down, down, down again into wild valleys and out into acres of blue flowers.”
As many of you have already recognized, this excerpt is taken from one of C.S. Lewis’ children’s novels, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It speaks of Aslan, the great lion, who carries Lucy and Susan on the most beautiful journey through Narnia. He invites them to ride on his back while he takes them through many types of scenery en route to their safe destination.
Through these novels and many situations in the Fellows program, I have seen God be much like Aslan, inviting me to take part in an adventure of a lifetime.
The start of my journey into the Nashville Fellows Program began with a conversation I had with a dear friend my junior year of college. He encouraged me to go to a place and do something that was completely out of my comfort zone. In this place, he believed the Lord would meet me and blow me away.
Fast-forward a year. Senior year is consumed with planning exactly where you want to be and what you want to be doing after graduation. I watched friends get accepted into graduate programs and jobs of their dreams and sat back waiting for my turn to come. After waiting months for acceptance, I was left directionless. Then I remembered that conversation and applied for the Nashville Fellows Program. There’s a little more to the story than that, but the point is that I thought I was giving myself direction in life.
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9
This year has been so unexpected and unplanned. From living with a host family and doing life with people I had never met to working in a denomination/job I had never encountered before, I have never felt more out of control of my life. Through all these different avenues, the Lord has stripped me of my control but shown how much he cares for me.
Out of control but totally cared for.
By host families. Church leaders. Mentors. Work environments. Fellows.
A tangible example of this feeling comes from this past weekend during a wicked and sudden snowfall. After days of mental and physical preparation for our Fellows Vocational Retreat, the trip was cancelled the day the retreat was supposed to start. While all the other fellows got to stay home due to their job sites being closed, I was still required to go into work. I had already packed my car at the time I received news of the trip, so it was already decided that I would be spending the weekend in West Nashville (across town from where I live). Where, however, was undecided. As soon as I had arrived to work, I received several phone calls and text messages from fellows and their host families offering to take care of me in any way possible.
Since friends want to be together when it snows, we all congregated together and therefore got stuck together in one of the host homes. I can’t even say we got stuck because it was truly a joy for this family to take us in and a joy for us to stay with them. While it was questioned what we would eat, what we would do, or where we would sleep, the Lord, through this family and the others, provided for me and the other fellows so well and so unlike I could have predicted.
This weekend, while there is so much more detail to share, reminded me that I’m not in control of anything. That God has worked out all the details of my life and all he asks me to do is trust him and those he has placed around me. The greatest adventure I could be on is one where I relinquish my false sense of control to him and enjoy the ride.
While I may not know what my next step or day might hold, I know I can trust our sweet Aslan to carry me through. He never misses his footing in my life and knows exactly the route he is taking me.