In C. S. Lewis’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Eustace Clarence Scrubb describes to Edmund how terrible it felt when Aslan, the Lion and Christ-figure, changed him from the dragon he’d become to the boy he was intended to be.
“The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know—if you’ve ever picked the scab off a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.”
“I know exactly what you mean,” said Edmund.
“Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off—just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt—and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me— I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on—and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again.”
I too have felt the claws of the Lion of Judah. I can tell you, it hurts. But I would rather be hurt by my God as He cleanses and heals me than to slowly die without His cleansing and healing because I’ve tried to protect myself from being hurt.
Eustace ends up loving the Lion who inflicted the pain. Through his anguish, the boy came to trust Aslan’s good intentions and love. So will we, in the end. But let’s not wait. The sooner we come to trust His goodness, the lighter the pain—no matter how great—we bear.