Something I do from time to time is re-read the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – all seven books. I began that this past week. The prequel to the well-known The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe is the lesser-known book The Magician’s Assistant.
The “magician” is Uncle Andrew and he is revealed right away as someone who only thinks of himself. He tricks an innocent, honest little girl named Polly, sending her into another world and forcing his noble nephew Digory to follow so both children can have a way to return – all for his own “great experiment”.
In another world, the children meet the dangerous Empress Jadis, also known as the White Witch. She too, only cares for herself and is quite proud that she destroyed an entire country with evil magic mostly to spite her own sister.
I recommend reading the entire story, but I’ll skip to the part that illustrates my point. Eventually Polly, Digory, Uncle Andrew, the White Witch and an honest cabby named Frank and his horse Strawberry (it’s the early 1900s) all end up in the freshly new land of Narnia which the Great Lion Aslan (who represents God in all of Lewis’ stories) has just called into existence. What’s fascinating to me is their interactions with Aslan.
The honest cabby Frank immediately removes his hat and shows Aslan respect. The children notice the difference in him as he does – that he “looks younger and nicer.” Aslan says to Frank, “I have known you long.” Frank and his wife Helen become the first King and Queen of Narnia.
Strawberry the horse, is also respectful and humble – as are all the “creatures” (that aren’t human) recognize Aslan as creator and desire to please him. Strawberry is given a new name – Fledge and becomes a winged horse.
The White Witch attacks Aslan immediately. But when her strength has no effect on him, she promptly runs. For all her bluster, she is after all, a coward. She distrusts Aslan’s kindness and steals from his garden. She then tries to entice Digory and Polly to do the same. Telling them to ignore the mission they were sent on and selfishly take steal to use something for their own advantage.
Thankfully, Digory and Polly resist her temptation and return to Aslan having fulfilled his request. Digory hears “Well done” from Aslan and “found he could look straight into the Lion’s eyes. He had forgotten his troubles and felt absolutely content.” His honesty and obedience is rewarded.
But now to Uncle Andrew – whose experience is a cautionary tale. When face to face with Aslan, Uncle Andrew is so frightened he can neither move or speak. Polly shows her kindness again and asks Aslan to “unfrighten him.” But Aslan says he cannot comfort him. “He (Uncle Andrew) has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings. Oh Adam’s sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good!”
As I ponder this story, I pray that you and I will never make ourselves unable to hear God. I pray that we will bear have spirits that are truthful, humble, kind and obedient. Then we will know God’s blessings.
Grace & Peace,