At the end of time, in C.S. Lewis's fantasy world of Narnia, a tragic thing happens. Actually, there are many tragedies in that story (The Last Battle), but this one is different.
A group of dwarves is totally convinced that their understanding of reality is the undisputable truth. Despite being surrounded by sunlight and warmth and beauty, they remain convinced that they are sitting in a dark and unpleasant stable. Aslan, the Lord of that world, places a feast of delicious food and drink before them, and yet they are convinced that they are eating straw and turnips, and drinking from a donkey's trough. The scene devolves into violence.
And perhaps most tragically, although Aslan speaks truth to them, what they hear is filtered by their own biased perspective. In other words, they are unable to hear what Aslan is actually saying to them and instead end up reshaping the message they hear so that it will align with their preconceptions.
I write this a few days prior to the inauguration of president-elect Biden. The year is hardly two weeks old, and yet it has already brought unprecedented political violence in America.
After Biden's victory in the electoral college was tallied a month ago, a friend asked me: "But what about all of the prophecies?" A fair question.
There were numerous specific prophecies published by respected Christian leaders (many with a good track record), stating that president Trump would be re-elected. [There were also a few who prophesied the opposite, but they were mostly ignored.] Many in that camp are convinced that the election was stolen. Some describe it as spiritual warfare, and hold on to a hope that God will do something miraculous in the next few days. And sadly, some have thought that storming the U.S. Capitol building would contribute toward that miracle.
A handful of those who prophesied Trump's reelection, have humbled themselves and apologized for not getting it right. That's where the scene devolves into violence. Among others, Jeremiah Johnson reports a barrage of hatred and even death threats in the wake of his apology.
I am left wondering: Could it be that a large chunk of the evangelical church in America is sitting in the dark stable? Might it be that the prophets are hearing the Lord speak, but not hearing what he is actually saying? If so, could it be the result of clinging to their reality, rather than seeking the heart of the Father at this time?
Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.
(Luke 8:18 NIV)
- The Prophets and Public Platforms section of Craig Keener's Failed Trump Prophecies Offer a Lesson in Humility looks insightfully at the dynamic of choosing how we listen.
- Brenton Dickieson has written a more thorough analysis of this scene from The Last Battle than I could hope to write.