Back in 1998 I fell into a funk. I’d been a Christian for a while and thought that, at that point, there should have been a lot more “action,” meaning God action, than what I was experiencing. My pastor, the one who later threatened to expose my counseling secrets after I had the nerve to ask a couple of questions about church operations that didn’t seem quite right, loaned me a book. It helped. Tremendously. It gave me a better handle on reality. And we left that church.
The book triggered a huge revival inside my soul. I tried to talk with people about it, but they just looked at me, took a breath, and then changed the subject. It didn’t take long for me to fall into a second funk. The second funk didn’t subside right away. In fact, it lasted several years. But just as the first funk had been necessary to my later awakening, the second was also necessary. Except the second one didn’t only deal with my understanding of reality. It dealt with my understanding of what was in me. And like the fire of purification that causes the dross to rise to the surface, the second funk surfaced certain habits and propensities in me that needed to be removed. And they were.
I thought the funk treatments were behind me. After all, I’ve been working on myself, you know? Reading and praying and doing things that are hard, all the while believing my approach will get me to the next way station on the Kingdom journey. Things were bumpily moving along until a few months back when new and unusual ideas began invading my line of spiritual sight. I knew there was something to these things, but I didn’t know where the path was leading. But now I do.
In C. S. Lewis’s story The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, there’s a little boy named Eustace who is a royal pain in the rear. About midway through the story he turns into a dragon. After considerable struggles to let his friends know that the flying dragon threatening Prince Caspian’s ship was actually him, he realized he had been an unmitigated nuisance and as a dragon had become an even greater nuisance. Just after realizing his own culpability in the situation, Eustace received a visit from a huge lion.
The lion came close to him, looked straight into Eustace’s eyes and told Eustace to follow him. Eustace followed the lion to the top of a mountain where there was a garden with a bubbling well in the middle of it. Eustace was suffering and in great pain from a bracelet too tight around his foreleg, a bracelet he was wearing when he turned into a dragon. When Eustace saw the well, he felt compelled to take a dip in it and get relief from the pain in his leg.
But the lion told him he must undress first.
So Eustace started scratching himself to cast his skins and the scales began coming off all over the place. He scratched a little deeper and his whole skin started peeling off, like a banana. Eustace was feeling better and thought he would get into the water, but when he looked down at his feet, they were still rough and wrinkled and scaly like they’d been before. So he scratched off this under skin, it fell away, and he stepped to the well.
But just as he began putting his feet in the water, the same thing happened again. So he scratched again and the skin fell away. And again as he looked at his reflection in the water, he saw his effort had been no good.
The lion said, “You will have to let me undress you.”
Eustace wanted desperately to feel the relief from the pain in his leg, so he lay down to let the lion undress him.
“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 of 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.
I know it’s going to hurt. I just hope He makes it quick.
 Lewis, C.S.. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: The Chronicles of Narnia (pp. 115-116). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.