Most of what I deeply, truly believe in my heart about God, I learned from The Chronicles of Narnia.
So, as we consider the word of Salvation this week, and being With Jesus (not just checking the "believe" box) as our true Salvation, here is one of my favorite passages from Prince Caspian.
“Look! Look! Look!” cried Lucy.
“Where? What?” said everyone.
“The Lion,” said Lucy. “Aslan himself. Didn’t you see?” Her face had changed completely and her eyes shone.
“Do you really mean--?” began Peter.
“Where did you think you saw him?” asked Susan.
“Don’t talk to me like a grown-up,” said Lucy, stamping her foot. “I didn’t *think* I saw him. I saw him."
“Where, Lu?” asked Peter.
“Right up there between those mountain ashes. No, this side of the gorge. And up, not down. Just the opposite of the way you want to go. And he wanted us to go where he was - up there.”
“How do you know that was what he wanted?” asked Edmund.
“He - I - I just know,” said Lucy, “by his face.”
The others all looked at each other in puzzled silence.
“Her Majesty may well have seen a lion,” put in Trumpkin. “There are lions in these woods, I’ve been told. But it needn’t have been a friendly and talking lion any more than the bear was a friendly and talking bear.”
“Oh, don’t be so stupid,” said Lucy. “Do you think I don’t know Aslan when I see him?”
“He’d be a pretty elderly lion by now,” said Trumpkin, “if he’s one you knew when you were here before! And if it could be the same one, what’s to prevent him having gone wild and witless like so many others?”
Lucy turned crimson and I think she would have flown at Trumpkin, if Peter had not laid his hand on her arm. “The DLF doesn’t understand. How could he? You must just take it, Trumpkin, that we do really know about Aslan; a little bit about him, I mean. And you mustn’t talk about him like that again. It isn’t lucky for one thing, and it’s all nonsense for another. The only question is whether Aslan was really there.”
“But I know he was,” said Lucy, her eyes filling with tears.
“Yes, Lu, but we don’t, you see,” said Peter.
“There’s nothing for it but a vote,” said Edmund.
“All right,” replied Peter. “You’re the eldest, DLF. What do you vote for? Up or down?”
“Down,” said the Dwarf. “I know nothing about Aslan. But I do know that if we turn left and follow the gorge up, it might lead us all day before we found a place where we could cross it. Whereas if we turn right and go down, we’re bound to reach the Great River in about a couple of hours. And if there are any real lions about, we want to go away from them, not towards.”
“What do you say, Susan?”
“Don’t be angry, Lu,” said Susan, “but I do think we should go down. I’m dead tired. Do let’s get out of this wretched wood into the open as quick as we can. And none of us except you saw anything.”
“Edmund?” said Peter.
“Well, there’s just this,” said Edmund, speaking quickly and turning a little red. “When we first discovered Narnia a year ago - or a thousand years ago, whichever it is - it was Lucy who discovered it first and none of us would believe her. I was the worst of the lot, I know. Yet she was right after all. Wouldn’t it be fair to believe her this time? I vote for going up.”
“Oh, Ed!” said Lucy and seized his hand.
“And now it’s your turn, Peter,” said Susan, “and I do hope--”
“Oh shut up, shut up and let a chap think,” interrupted Peter. “I’d much rather not have to vote.”
“You’re the High King,” said Trumpkin sternly.
“Down,” said Peter after a long pause. “I know Lucy may be right after all, but I can’t help it. We must do one or the other.”
So they set off to their right along the edge, downstream. And Lucy came last the of party, crying bitterly. (CS Lewis, Prince Caspian)
Sometimes the people we love--good people, trying to do the right thing--don't see what we see.
Sometimes being With Jesus means going on alone.
Or following along in the wrong direction, crying bitterly.
I think it's really fascinating in this story that the people who didn't believe in Aslan and the people who did believe in Aslan ALL went in the wrong direction.
Later on, Aslan appears to Lucy again, and after a difficult conversation about her fear of following:
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," she said. "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."
Being With Jesus, profoundly With Jesus, is where the lion-magic flows into us, making us ready to follow, no matter what.