This summer, I decided to reread all of the Chronicles of Narnia. Because I lent out my copy, I have been renting them one by one from the Estes Park library. I came across this passage from Prince Caspian that has never failed to give me chills.
But for the movement of his tail he might have been a stone lion, but Lucy never thought of that. She never stopped to think whether he was a friendly lion or not. She rushed to him. She felt her heart would burst if she lost a moment. And the next thing she know was that she was kissing him and putting her arms as far round his neck as she could and burying her ace in the beautiful silkiness of his mane.
“Aslan, Aslan. Dear Aslan,” sobbed Lucy. “At last.”
The great beast rolled over on his side so that Lucy fell, half sitting and half lying between his front paws. He bent forward and just touched her nose with his tongue. His warm breath came all round her. She gazed up into the large wise face.
“Welcome, child,” he said.
“Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger.”
“That is because you are older, little one,” answered he.
“Not because you are?”
“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”
For a time she was so happy that she did not want to speak. But Aslan spoke.
“Lucy,” he said, “we must not lie here for long. You have work in hand, and much time has been lost today.”
“Yes, wasn’t it a shame?” said Lucy. “I saw you all right. They wouldn’t believe me. They’re all so-”
From somewhere deep inside Aslan’s body there came the faintest suggestion of a growl.
“I’m sorry,” said Lucy, who understood some of his moods. “I didn’t mean to start slanging the others. But it wasn’t my fault anyway, was it?”
The Lion looked straight into her eyes.
“Oh, Aslan.” said Lucy. “You don’t mean it was? How could I- I couldn’t have left the others and come up to you alone, how could I? Don’t look at me like that… oh well, I suppose I could. Yes, and it wouldn’t have been alone, I know, not if I was with you. But what would have been the good?”
Aslan said nothing.
“You mean,” said Lucy rather faintly. “that it would have turned out all right- some how? But how? Please Aslan! Am I not to know?”
“To know what would have happened, child? No. Nobody is ever told that.”
“Oh dear,” said Lucy.
“But anyone can find out what will happen,” said Aslan. “If you go back to the others now, and wake them up, and tell them you have seen me again; and that you must get up and follow me- what will happen? There is only one way of finding out.”
“Do you mean that is what you want me to do?” gasped Lucy.
“Yes, little one.”
“Will the others see you too?” asked Lucy.
“Certainly not at first. Later on, it depends.”
“But they won’t believe me!”
“It doesn’t matter”
“Oh dear, oh dear,” said Lucy. “And I was so pleased at finding you again. And I thought you’d let me stay. And I thought you’d come in roaring and frighten all the enemies away- like last time. And now everything is going to be horrid.”
“It is hard for you, little one,” said Aslan. “But things never happen the same way twice. It has been hard for us all in Narnia before now.”
Lucy buried her head in his mane to hide from his face. But there must have been magic in his mane. She could feel lion-strength going into her. Quite suddenly she sat up.
“I’m sorry Aslan. I’m ready now.”
“Now you are a lioness,” said Aslan. “And now all Narnia will be renewed. But come. We have no time to lose.”
He got up and walked with stately, noiseless paces back to the belt of dancing trees through which she had just come, and Lucy went with him, lying a rather tremulous hand on his mane. The trees parted and for one second assumed their human forms completely. Lucy had glimpse of tall and lovely wood-gods and wood-goddesses all bowing to the Lion, next moment they were trees again, but still bowing, with such graceful sweeps of branch and trunk that their bowing itself was a kind of dance.
“Now, child,” said Aslan, when they had left the trees behind them, ” I will wait here. Go and wake the others and tell them to follow. If they will not, then at least you must follow me alone.”
This passage relates so closely to my life right now.
I go through seasons, just like all followers of Christ. I go through seasons where I experience deep intimacy with the Lord, and I go through seasons where I have to battle for my faith every day that I roll out of bed.
My freshman year of college felt like I was Lucy, resting in the arms of my Aslan. My faith was easy. Every day I felt like I was growing. I learned so much about His character. My sin struggles were revealed, but even wrestling with those felt easy. I constantly felt the presence of God and every thing I did felt as if it was blessed by His hand.
The school year came to an end, and it was time to leave Madison. It was time to leave the community that had fanned the fire of my faith. It definitely felt like Aslan was telling me it was time to move on. It was time to do work. Yes, laying in the arms of my father is fun, it is satisfying, it is comfortable. But ultimately, thats not what our walk with the Lord is made up of.
So, it was time to leave the space between the paws of Aslan. I had buried my face in His mane long enough. He had filled me with so much strength. It was time to go be a lioness.
So I boarded a plane to Colorado. I’ve spent the past month serving at Camp Timberline. I’ve spent it sleeping in cabins, showering once a week, wearing ridiculous costumes, dancing constantly, swimming in a cold lake, hiking, running, and loving a lot of children. It sounds like so much fun (and it is) but it has required every single ounce of my lion-strength. I am exhausted. All of a sudden, my faith isn’t easy. I don’t feel God’s presence like I used to. Digging in to the Word often feels like a chore. Even my personal struggles look like huge mountains that I will never ever be able to climb over. I used to look at my struggles as a joke, resting in the knowledge that God can tackle them. Now it takes a lot of effort to remember that God will handle anything that I had over.
What’s really, really awesome it that my Lord is constant, even though I’m not. Even though He forces my face away from His mane, He never asks me to leave without the strength I need. He never changes as I go use that strength. As He leads me through the forests, His character, His love, His endurance and strength and power and joy remain the same. Even though I don’t feel Him, He’s there. I rest in that knowledge.
So I will get up and do battle. I will rejoice in the times that I am not sitting in my Father’s arms because I know that He is with me and has filled me with all of the power I need. He has made me a lioness. I will follow Him even if it feels like I’m doing it alone, because I know that I am never truly alone. I will remember that things never happen, or feel, or look, the same twice when I’m following the most creative Being in existence. I will marvel as my God looks bigger with every step forward I take. I will battle each battle that the Lord places in front of me, because I know that I’m fighting on the side that has already won. I will look forward to the times when I get to rest in the arms of Aslan, but I will not let that overshadow the season I am in now.
I will pray for the courage to be like Lucy, Queen of Narnia.