Friday, May 08, 2015

Lessons from C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia

I have not kept up with my reading on C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia series. I read them (the first two volumes) as children's novels and did not read it deep enough to see any messages in them; which is why when Christian writers draw lessons from them, I always end up in awe.

Raymond Ortlund did just that with this scene in The Silver Chair in his book, Isaiah: God Saves Sinner under the Preaching the Word series.

He wrote about "God's Surprising Strategies" on Isaiah 44:24-54:25. The lesson he drew from the passage was that God is bigger than we can ever imagine, though we more than often box him in our limitations. But God is great and he alone has the right to be God. God's will for us is better than we think and he invites us to turn to him and be saved, all the ends of the earth. But we are arrogant and we accuse him of bungling our lives, though we are far beneath God as clay is beneath a potter. However, God still invites us to rethink our lives and graciously receives us when we come to him. In his salvation strategies for us, he is both perplexing and faithful, because he is God. And we need to accept that.

Ortlund drove it home by ending the chapter with this:
C. S. Lewis wrote a series of children’s stories in which the Christ figure is a lion. In one scene a girl named Jill bursts into an opening in a forest. She’s thirsty. She spies a stream not far away, but she doesn’t rush forward to throw her face into its refreshing current. Instead she freezes in fear because a lion is resting in the sun right beside the stream.

“Are you not thirsty?” said the Lion.

“I’m dying of thirst,” said Jill.

“Then drink,” said the Lion.

“May I — could I — would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill.

The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience. The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.

“Will you promise not to — do anything to me, if I do come?” said Jill.

“I make no promise,” said the Lion.

Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer. “Do you eat girls?” she said.

“I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion. It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it.

“I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill.

“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.

“Oh, dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”

“There is no other stream,” said the Lion.

Wow...see what I mean? What an amazing close to the message.

Source: Raymond C. Ortlund, Isaiah: God Saves Sinners, Preaching the Word, quoting C. S. Lewis, The Silver Chair (New York: Collier Books, 1970 reprint), pp. 16, 17.

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