Karen Scheffler: Obedience and Grace

How did I stumble upon George MacDonald?

The question posed, the answer simple. C.S. Lewis

Sure, there is more to that answer. It’s a story. ‘Everyone’s got one’.

Here’s mine; sincere, sweet, a little scary, and short.


I was introduced to Lewis through my very faithful sister, Sandra. She, like me, was in need of much Grace. I didn’t know it at the time. She did. I read him because I liked how smart she seemed to me.He was tough to ‘get’ at first, but I kept reading and fell for his every word.

I understood from him that, of course, he was influenced by others. It was clear as an eagle’s sight that George MacDonald was a major influence. Curiouser and curiouser, (as forgetful of my English as Alice in Wonderland), I opened like a telescope, and set my eye on MacDonald. If Lewis never wrote anything without quoting him, surely this man must be quite something.

He was. And I could hardly fathom him. I liked his stories. My first was, The Golden Key, then The Light Princess followed by Sir Gibbie and Phantastes. He lost me completely in Phantastes.  I picked up a little book titled, The Wind from the Stars*. Oh my, yes! I could handle the quotes in this little book packed with the stars from his numerous writings. I was intrigued by the titles; A Dish of Orts, At the Back of the North Wind, and the very mysterious, Diary of an Old Soul. I ventured into At the Back of the North Wind.

There was something so wonderful about that one.

It touched a place in me.

The place where only God has named.

My secret place, known only to Him and for now, I only know it exists.

 But, I had a problem. As I read the quotes in ‘The Wind From The Stars’, I got this very uneasy feeling that there was more talk about obeying than I really wanted to hear. After all – Grace. By this time I knew I needed it.

Big Time.

I certainly didn’t want to give it up by having to DO something. Christ DID it all, right?

I distracted myself with just reading more Lewis and occasionally reading the stories I did have of MacDonald’s. I continued to reread At The Back of The North Wind just because I loved it.

So what was it that turned my attention back to MacDonald? In the last few years I began to listen to LibriVox recordings while I worked at my art. I listened, read, and came upon more and more MacDonald. I found people through the internet discussing his works - and him.

I think it was because I was ready to hear him that I am going through this journey now (another story). I had partially closed my telescope because I didn’t want to see. I closed my mind, but I became aware of something in sight, though far away. Something I knew to be there but fuzzy, prompting the unsettling question; ‘What is the form?’ I saw it in the work of Lewis. I heard it in the distance barely perceptible. I’ve felt it everywhere, and I’ve known it all my life. God loves His creation. I want to respond. I want to know what it means. MacDonald is helping me understand.


*Gordon Reid, The Wind from the Stars; through the year with George MacDonald