At the darkest moment in the first tale of Narnia, when Aslan’s tortured and humiliated body lies stone dead on the Stone Table, Lewis tells us what Susan and Lucy are feeling:
I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been—if you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you—you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing was ever going to happen again.
Obviously, only one whose misery had taken him to this devastated “quietness” could write these sentences. Lewis had known such misery as a child, and he knew it again as a middle-aged man. Yet it was quiet directly out of this misery that a story for children came—at first a bumbling story, flat and uninspired, but one that Lewis could not ignore. As he wrote when all the Narnia stories were done, it was only when the great lion Aslan “Came bounding into it” that he stopped bumbling and the whole story began to move in its proper course. “He pulled the whole story together, and soon He pulled the six other Narnian stories in after Him.” And into Narnia he also pulled Lewis, and us.
(from The Narnian, The Life and Imagination of C.S. Lewis by Alan Jacobs)
Isn’t this how it is?
When darkness surrounds me, some days it might even feel as if it defines me (although it doesn’t really), there is misery and desperation.
And yet, when Aslan bounds into it?
My world becomes light again. (The light never was gone, I just was blinded by darkness.)
The darkness doesn’t go away, but the light shines in it, through it, and my way becomes clear and quiet, and I begin moving in my proper course rather than stumbling and tripping or just standing still.
It is easy for me to let the darkness paralyze me, to let anxiety wreak its havoc on my soul and to lose all sense of direction, purpose… really, all sense of joy in this life.
But when my eyes are on Christ and not on my circumstances, my worldview is very different—my life view is very different—my daily view is very different. And the journey becomes joyful.
The joy is not because the struggle has lessened. The joy is because my focus isn’t on the journey; it’s on the reason for the journey.
And oh, the blessings He gives me along the way—my family and friends and home and work and health (and so much more)–they are all pieces of the joy He brings, and only He has pulled my life together.
Even if my family is having a hard day or my friends are distant or my home is chaos or my work is drudgery or my health is struggling, it doesn’t change the fact that they are blessings. Each day is a gift. How will I choose to see it? How will I choose to see Him?
Will I view life as boring and flat and uninspired? Even if life is hard, even if pain sucks everything from me, even if doubt plagues and fear makes it hard to be happy.
In all of this, He is there, and His presence brings a sort of quietness.
Christ bounded into my life years ago, and I am pulled in the direction of hope and hope brings joy. Some days that joy is bursting and exuberant and others it is just there, a stillness in the midst of chaos.
But it is joy.
And joy brings life.
But of Zion it shall be said, “This one and that one were born in her”; and the Most High Himself will establish her. The LORD will count when He registers the peoples, “This one was born there.” Selah.
Then those who sing as well as those who play the flutes shall say,
“All my springs of joy are in You.”
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