Lessons from Lewis: A Speck of Light

I’ve read and reread the Chronicles of Narnia almost annually since my mother introduced them to me as a child. Some scenes stick out time after time.  When the Queen accuses Edmund of treachery in the presence of Aslan, his response always moves me—no words, just a steadfast gaze toward Aslan. The bravery of Reepicheep the Mouse and the devotion of his mighty mice delight me. The ballad of the Lion at the creation of Narnia fills me with wonder.

 

But often, within these familiar pages emerge rich truths overlooked in all previous reads.  The Voyage of the Dawn Treader holds my most recent discovery. The ship Dawn Treader has set sail to find the Seven Lords who went missing under the reign of evil King Miraz. They will travel to the world’s end to find or avenge the deaths of all seven men. Lucy and Edmund Pevensie, and their cousin Eustice Scrub, have joined King Caspian, his men, and a valiant mouse name Reepicheep on their quest. On their sea voyage, they encounter islands built through mutiny, stumble upon enchanted waters, and interact with odd little creatures who are invisible at first.

 

Then, they come upon what they later name the Dark Island. It appears as a dark mass set against an otherwise blue sky. After trying to decide whether they should enter it, Reepicheep inspires them to brave the unknown.  As the ship enters the mass, the sky transforms from piercing blue to midnight black. Within the murky waters, they hear and then rescue one of the Lords. Danger! he cries. Your dreams will come true. And not daydreams. Dreaded dreams—nightmares.

 

As everyone’s greatest fears manifest, they work tirelessly to turn the ship around, but they’ve been swallowed up in darkness. No light remains. Lucy calls out to Aslan for help. She whispers, “Aslan, Aslan, if ever you loved us at all, send us help now.”

 

Honest Prayers

 

One might wonder at her words. Surely Aslan had proven himself over and over again. In her early encounters through the wardrobe, she witnessed how Aslan defeated death and devoured the White Witch. On their return visit, Lucy follows his lead—when no one else could see him—for safe passage across the Great River. Lucy trusts Aslan wholeheartedly.

 

And now—in this dark hour—her faith in the great Lion dims.

 

David had a similar experience. In Psalm 142, we read of his concerns. Stuck in a cave, running for his life, likely because he is the rightful king (1 Samuel 22), David cries out to God and says, “No one is concerned for me…no one cares for my life,” (Psalm 142:4).

 

Perhaps honest prayers like those of David and Lucy are welcomed by God after all. 

 

A Little Better

 

After Lucy confesses her need for Aslan, Lewis writes, “The darkness did not grow any less, but she began to feel a little—a very, very little—better.”

 

What a beautiful illustration of how our relationship with Christ looks in our own lives. Our circumstances may be bleak, but when we call out to him, we “begin to feel a little—a very, very little—better.”

 

David must have felt a little better as well, for he ends his prayer with these words: “Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me” (vs. 7).

 

Paul also wrote about trusting in dark times, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7).

 

Like Lucy calling out in the storm for Aslan’s help, we can call out to God. Like David confessing his dire circumstances in a cave, we can receive a staying peace that is difficult for outsiders to comprehend. We can trust that God “is on the move.”

 

A Speck Of Light

 

Moments after Lucy calls out for help, an albatross circles their ship. Speaking only to Lucy, he whispers, “Courage, dear heart.” Just a speck of light appears, and the men steer their ship, following where the albatross leads. On their own and in their own power, they could not escape the darkness. Within moments of following the albatross, the light splays brightly signaling their danger is behind them.

 

Our difficulties are real and present and can weigh us down. Perhaps all that is in sight is a tiny speck of hope. But we can trust the Light of the world to hear our honest prayers and to ease our anxious thoughts. Our circumstances may not change, but when our hope is in the Light, we will always feel a little—a very, very little—better.

Published: Dec 5, 2023

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