The Lion in the Marble

By Natalie Lantz

New year, new me? I see that everywhere I go, gym memberships go up, and everybody is talking about the new diet they are on. What actually changes when that clock strikes twelve and everybody toasts to the new year? Does the slate get wiped clean, finally giving you the chance to work off those twenty pounds you gained in February of last year after ditching your gym membership?

As one of my first year core courses, I am required to take CTS-110, Being and Knowing in a Digital Age. This course may not pertain directly to my English degree, but rather to my life, my relationship with Christ. It reminds me why I am at Redeemer, why I chose this school over all the others.

We started out the class by looking at some work by Henri Nouwen. The piece we looked at starts out by talking about a sculptor who was carving a piece of marble while a young child stood nearby. As the sculptor carved more from the piece of marble, a lion was revealed. The young child asked with excitement in his voice how the sculptor knew that there was a lion in the marble. I can imagine the sculptor leaning down, setting down his tools, and looking straight into the little boy’s eyes. He answers with this: “The secret is that it was the lion in my heart that recognized the lion in the marble.”

Nouwen writes, “Spiritual formation is the careful attentiveness to the work of God, our master sculptor, as we submit to the gradual chipping away of all that is not of God, until the inner lion is revealed.” Truth bomb.

This reminds me of a video done by The Skit Guys called “The Chisel.” I don’t know if you have seen this video, but to me it represents what Nouwen is saying. Basically, God is chipping away at the bad parts in the main character, who keeps complaining that it hurts. God responds by saying that it hurts Him too, but it must be done in order for the man to reflect His Father. God is chipping away at the marble surrounding our hearts so that the lion may be revealed.

I know that before I really began to dig deep with God, I thought that a life with God meant everything was going to be pain free. It’s been the opposite in the most beautiful way possible as He has called me, stretched me, showed Himself to me, and loved me through every single trial.

Every time I go through a trial, He is walking beside me, gently reminding me that He is chipping away at the bad to reveal more of Himself. Because of that, I welcome the trials. If it means knowing more of His heart, I welcome the pain. He does this “so that the tested genuineness of your faith — more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7). He is using a refining fire on us, for we are the gold.

Beauty out of the broken. Out of the dirt. Out of the pain. Because that’s who God is. He is Grace. He is Love. He is Power. He is Life. He is Joy.

May we leave the comfortable and walk out in faith. When He calls, may we listen. May this year be one of change, seeking the Father out, looking past ourselves and into His eyes. I don’t know what He is calling you to, but in the words of Nouwen, “God is doing something right now.” So let Him.