[Forgive me if this post is a bit rambling; my mind feels shot. It’s been a long and difficult week.]
I found myself nearly snapping this morning over something trivial and small, raising a “red flag” as to my emotional and spiritual reserves. I quickly retreated into my tried and true sources of grace, and felt my soul slowly re-immerse in the reality of God and his commitment toward me. In one case, it was a recent playlist I made called “Tender Mercies,” filled with the most powerful and grace-filled songs I own. They wash over me and knit me back together.
The other thing I did was turn once again to the recollection of one of my favorite Narnia books, The Horse and His Boy. In particular, the scene where Shasta is travelling through the dark and a mysterious presence comes alongside him and says, “Tell me your troubles.” As Shasta pours out his heart, he is received with great compassion; in the context of this great compassion, a new interpretation emerges of Shasta’s life, offered by this Mysterious Other, that brings light into the darkness. I have written on this before, but wanted to reflect on it once again so I can draw strength from it. When I searched for the story on the internet, a book came up and I found myself captivated by the author’s perspective on this scene:
“…Shasta encounters Aslan again. Mired in that emotional letdown, that loss of purpose that so often comes with the completion of a long and difficult mission, he thinks of Bree and Hwin and Aravis snug in the Hermit’s house, and how long it’s been since he has rested or eaten, and he begins to indulge in self-pity for the first time in this story. He begins, in fact, to believe that he is the most unfortunate boy in the world.
“Tell me your troubles,” says Aslan from the fog. It’s one of those moments when the great terror of Aslan is overcome by his even greater compassion. Very few people have shown any interest in Shasta’s sorrows or fears or hopes. But this mysterious, giant voice in the fog does. Shasta tells of his difficult childhood, of his harrowing escape from Calormen, of the trouble he has had with lions.
The voice in the fog offers a different perspective on Shasta’s misfortunes: they weren’t misfortunes at all, but part of a larger plan. The lions on the road, the lion among the tombs outside Tashbaan, the lion who attacked Aravis, even the lion Shasta doesn’t remember – the one who pushed baby Shasta’s boat to shore at the Calormen fishing village – were all the same Lion. All of Shasta’s life has been lived under the protective paw of the Lion: the same Lion who now speaks from the fog.
When Shasta asks who is speaking to him, he gets more or less the same answer Moses got from the burning bush: “Myself . . . Myself . . . Myself.” Shasta has been speaking to the great I AM. He is no longer afraid, but still he trembles. He feels glad, too, in this awesome presence. Then a light dissolves the fog, and Shasta sees the Great Lion to whom he has been talking. He is more terrible and more beautiful than anything Shasta has ever seen.” (Jonathan Rogers, The Word, the Name, the Blood: Christian Meaning in C.S. Lewis’ Beloved Chronicles (Hachette Digital, Inc., Feb 28, 2009))
I take refuge under the giant protective paw of the Lion who walks beside me in the fog of my weariness, unbelief, confusion and limping faith. The only hope I have is that he holds me. The faithfulness of Jesus persists. This is the only safe place for me to pour out my heart, to tell all my troubles. Perhaps I will hear a new interpretation that will help me move forward. I will wait and see. If not, I am still safe under his paw!
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.” (Ps 91:1-2 ESV)