“I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say, but I shall still be your affectionate Godfather, C. S. Lewis.” (Magician’s Nephew, 1955).
Welcome to the wonderful land of Narnia, where talking mice are valiant warriors, greedy boys become dragons, and a mighty Lion roams the land. This 7-day devotional takes one quote from each of C.S. Lewis’ Narnian adventures, giving us a better understanding of the character of God (represented by the Lion, Aslan) and delving into scripture to explore more deeply the One we serve.
Day 1: The Adventurous Life
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver, “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, 1950).
A Walk in Narnia
The Pevensies’ arrival to the mysterious world of Narnia is quickly greeted by a talking Faun, an evil witch, and two very hospitable beavers. As rumors swirl of the return of the great Lion, Aslan—creator and savior of Narnia, son of the Emperor-over- the-sea—the children are intrigued by the words spoken of this mighty “King of the Beasts”. Mr. Beaver is aghast at Lucy for asking if Aslan is a man; he is even more in shock when Lucy asks if he is safe, to which he responds: “’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
Throughout this Narnian tale, we finally meet the Lion and see He is exactly as Mr. Beaver has described: a huge, roaring beast, who ultimately sacrifices himself to the White Witch and her wicked minions, resurrecting from the dead and charging a battlefield to defeat the army of the Witch. He leads the Pevensie siblings on the adventure of a lifetime and eventually sets them as kings and queens over Narnia to courageously lead for years to come (side note: who has ever heard of two kings and queens?!). The Pevensies’ adventure depicts the Lion as possibly the farthest thing from safe. Instead, we see a reckless, wild Lion, set on edge-of- your-seat adventure that would leave even the bravest of men shaken. Yet over and over again we are reminded, in the midst of terrible fear and great confusion, that He is good.
We do not serve a comfortable God. We do not serve a safe God. Scripture makes it clear that God is a mighty warrior (Exodus 15:3, Jeremiah 20:11), and goes forth as such (Isaiah 42:13). He knows no fear, and he lovingly pushes us and walks us through fear to lead us on the adventure of a lifetime. As you think through your fears in alignment with the personality of God, what comes to mind? Do you see Him as a “Let’s tiptoe around this fear” kind of God, or is He an “I’m going to let you walk right through your fears but never leave your side” God? As you read through the following scriptures, let it sink in your heart that God is a warrior who graciously walks us through our fears, while never failing to be good. He is a God of ravenous adventure, unintimidated by fearful circumstances and situations. As the Pevensies quickly discovered upon meeting Aslan, our lives are meant to be adventurously lived—not free and devoid of fear but walked through the thickest thistles of it.
Isaiah 42:13, Psalm 23, Matthew 7:9-11
Day 2: The Bigness of God
“Aslan” said Lucy, “you’re bigger”.
“That is because you are older, little one” answered he.
“Not because you are?”
“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger”. (Prince Caspian, 1951).
A Walk in Narnia
Hundreds of years after Aslan resurrects to finish off the Witch, the Pevensies find themselves transported out of a British railway station to an unknown location where ruins of old buildings surround them. As they explore the ruins and discover they have magically returned to the land of Narnia (and to the ruins of Cair Paravel, where they
once ruled as kings and queens), they are whisked away on an adventure to help the soon-to- be King of Narnia, Prince Caspian. After an exhausting day of travel and laying down for much needed rest, Lucy hears the great Lion Aslan calling her name. She follows His voice into the woods and sees the mighty Lion in all His splendor, shining
bright in the moonlit forest. She rushes to Aslan and notes that He has gotten considerably bigger, to which He replies: “I am not. Every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”
Can we ever truly grasp the width, length, height, and depth of God and His love for us? It is immeasurable, as far as the east is from the west, and extends far beyond the farthest galaxy. It is a notable aspect of the Christian faith that the more we come to know God, the more we strive to know about Him. We are, astonishingly, never fully
satisfied because we always crave more, yet we find full satisfaction in being in His presence. It is a great paradox. From his reckless, unending love to His ability to create out of nothing, it would take the world’s greatest scholar 100,000 lifetimes to even scratch the surface of who God truly is. The more we see of Jesus, the bigger we realize He is.
God is God for a reason. We will never completely grasp nor understand the fullness of God. Imagine diving headfirst into the ocean, using some kind of Hi-Tec breathing apparatus that allows you to remain under water as long as you wish. As you dive deeper, you see it goes on for miles. Eventually, you realize the bottom is far beyond
your capability to reach. Though it is not endless, it seems to be so. As you continue to search the unknown waters, you encounter hundreds of different types of fish, plants, algae, sands. After years of exploring the ocean, you feel as if you could go on searching for a million more years and never be truly satisfied.
So it is with God. As we dive deeper into God, we realize along the way that there is much more to Him than we originally thought. The more we see Him, the bigger He becomes just like Aslan seemed to grow every time Lucy met Him. Take time today to thank God for His immeasurability. Thank God that He only grows bigger as we grow, that we will never fully grasp Him for all He is.
Psalm 147:5, Isaiah 40:28, Isaiah 55:8-9, Ephesians 3:18
Day 3: Shedding Your Dragon Scales
“’You will have to let me undress you,’ says Aslan the Lion. The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off…” (Voyage of the Dawn Treader, 1952).
A Walk in Narnia
In one of the strangest scenes witnessed in the Narnian world, Eustace Scrubb—Lucy and Edmund’s intolerably hateful cousin—falls asleep an annoying boy and wakes up a large, scaly dragon. The process of him becoming a dragon is never fully explained (Narnian magic?), but his reversal back into a human is. Aslan, the terrible Lion,
appears to Eustace the dragon and tells him to undress—to scratch and claw at his scales so that he may return to boyhood. Eustace, anxious to rid himself of his dragon skin, scratches and scrapes until layers of scales fall from his body. Seeing his reflection in a nearby pond, he is shocked to find another layer molded into his body. He scratches
again, and the result is no different: Eustace is still a dragon. After several failed attempts, Aslan speaks—though Eustace is unsure if He actually uses words—and tells him that He must undress the dragon boy to properly rid him of his scales. Aslan does not hold back, digging his claws into Eustace’s skin and ripping out the deepest layers of
scale. An awfully painful scene ends with Eustace a boy again and feeling overjoyed that both the pain and dragon scales are gone.
In his own strength, Eustace could do nothing. He scratched off his dragon scales, only to find more layers buried underneath. His own strength proved strong enough for a moment, yet it produced no lasting results. It was not until Aslan graciously interceded and began doing the work for him that Eustace began seeing genuine change.
In our own strength, we cannot defeat the battles that cling to our souls and plague us for days, months and even years. Our world is surrounded by spiritual forces, and the battles we fight are not simply against flesh and blood but the powers of this dark world (Ephesians 6:12). How then can we, mere human beings, expect to consistently
defeat the powerful forces that attack us day-in and day-out? We simply cannot. We may win a few battles, but the overall war cannot be won in our own strength. Thankfully, God is eager to fight our battles. He is enthusiastic about fighting in our place and freeing us from what keeps us bonded. If we try fighting in our own strength to defeat these spiritual forces, we will end up on the losing side.
What consistent struggle(s) do you have in your life that cannot be beaten? Is it a struggle that has been harassing you for a few weeks, or is it an all-consuming struggle that has tormented you for years? Whichever it may be, The Lord is willing and more than capable to fight your battles and overcome the pain that is continually weighing
down your soul. It is time to shed your dragon scales; it is time to experience freedom.
Exodus 14:14, Isaiah 2:22, Ephesians 6:12, Galatians 4:7
Day 4: The Everlasting Stream
“I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill.
“Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.
“Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer. “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”
“There is no other stream,” said the Lion. (The Silver Chair, 1953).
A Walk in Narnia
“It was the worst thing she had ever had to do, but she went forward to the stream”. Jill Pole, launched headfirst into her first Narnian experience with the once-intolerable Eustace Scrubb, meets Aslan the Terrible Lion only hours upon her arrival. Unbearably thirsty—from the shock of accidentally knocking Eustace off a cliff and the
saltiness from the burst of tears that followed—Jill longs for nothing more than a drink of water to quench her thirst. But one Thing stands in her way from receiving a drink: a giant, terrifying Lion (oh, who talks by the way).
Not knowing that this is a good Lion, Jill remains hesitant as Aslan urges her to approach the stream a few feet in front of him and take a drink. Eventually, though her mind begs her to take off running, her feet draw nearer, and she finds herself scooping handfuls of water into her mouth only inches from the Lion.
”It was the coldest, most refreshing water she had ever tasted. You didn’t need to drink much of it, for it quenched your thirst at once”. Jill experiences instant refreshment. Her original plan of stealing a drink and fleeing the scene now seems like the most dangerous option available. Why? The water—so refreshing, so fulfilling—satisfied her as nothing had before. The danger was not in the Lion pouncing and mauling her then and there; the danger was in never again experiencing satisfaction like this.
Jill Pole learned a mighty lesson in five minutes that takes many of us our whole lives to finally grasp. After we allow Jesus to become the rightful Lord of our lives, we are telling God that nothing in this world satisfies us like He does. No hobby, no lifestyle, no belief not named “God” can leave us fully satisfied. We may find temporary gratification in the things around us, but ultimately they will leave us thirstier, emptier and in need of more.
Spending time in the presence of Jesus gives us access to a sweet place of fulfillment that nothing else can even scratch the surface of.
As you read the scripture laid out for today, think of the things in your life that may be replacing God’s everlasting satisfaction with temporary gratification. Are you discovering the true joy only Jesus provides, or are you finding distractions that wear the mask of joy and leave you emptier and craving more the next day? Let us, today, follow
Jill Pole in drinking the water of life that satisfies beyond anything we can ever imagine. Will you choose to drink the Living Water?
John 4:1-14, Revelation 21:6
Day 5: The Story of Your Life
““Child,’ said the Lion, “I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own.” (The Horse and His Boy, 1954).
A Walk in Narnia
C.S. Lewis never rushes to tell a story, creating bright and rich imagery for every journey and landscape Narnia has to offer. This is perhaps best demonstrated in The Horse and His Boy, as Lewis delivers a long and detailed journey of two Calormene runaways (Shasta and Aravis) and their talking horses (Bree and Hwin, respectively), sparing no
detail along their desert-covered voyage. Along the way, the kids and their horses (or the horses and their kids, if you please) encounter a series of strange interventions that ultimately guide and protect them.
Shasta, now traveling alone and thinking he is “the most unfortunate boy in the world”, finds himself in utter darkness and unable to even see his next step. As he slowly walks along the path, he senses there is someone walking beside him—silently, not saying a word. He discovers that it is Aslan, the great Lion, and through dialogue realizes that Aslan has been with him the entire journey (from forcing Shasta to ride with Aravis to the terrifying catacomb scene). Shasta inquires of the Lion as to why certain things have happened to him, then proceeds to ask the bold question: “Then it was you who wounded Aravis…what for?” Aslan, without missing a beat, responds: “Child, I am telling you your story, not hers. No one is told any story but their own.” Aslan moves on with the
conversation and Shasta dares not ask again of anyone else’s encounters.
“Comparison is the thief of joy”, Theodore Roosevelt is famously quoted as saying. The image that comes to mind is of a satisfied Faun in the late hours of the night—satisfied because of his late-night snack of tea and Turkish Delight, of course—scrolling through Facebook and seeing a picture of a fellow Dwarf. His satisfied mood quickly disappears when he sees the Dwarf’s beard twice as long as his own goatee. He now finds himself discontent, feeling inferior to the longer chin hair of his brethren. Comparison has taken away contentment, and he now finds himself more focused on outgrowing the Dwarf’s beard than he is enjoying his own goatee.
Is this potentially the strangest example that could have been used? Yes. But does it get the point across? Eh, hopefully. Everyone has their own story. When we become too caught up in “her gift” or “his calling”, we are treading dangerously close to missing our own calling and ultimately begin to view our gifts and talents as lesser. Like Aslan told Shasta on that dark, winding road, it is important that we focus on our own story. How can you write great chapters of your own life when you are too busy reading someone else’s? The following scripture is perhaps the best Biblical example of staying focused on our own story. As you read Jesus’ encounter with comparison, ask yourself: Who am I comparing myself to today? What gifts am I ‘measuring up’ to someone else’s? You can only write your own story; don’t get too caught up in comparing your Faun goatee to a Dwarf’s beard.
John 21:15-23, Galatians 6:4
Day 6: The Wonderful Knowledge
“Son,” said Aslan to the Cabby. “I have known you long. Do you know me?”
“Well, no, sir,” said the Cabby.”Leastways, not in an ordinary manner of speaking. Yet I feel somehow, if I may make so free, as ‘ow we’ve met before.” (The Magician’s Nephew, 1955).
A Walk in Narnia
Set long before the adventures of the Pevensie siblings, daring mice and a despairing yet brave Marshwiggle, The Magician’s Nephew serves as a prequel to the wonderful world of Narnia, detailing its creation that started with a low, humming song and ended with a beautiful, luscious world. Whisked into this world—though not by choice—is a British cab driver named Frank and his cab horse, Strawberry. During his own personal encounter with Aslan, the mighty Lion who created Narnia, Frank the cabby is asked a simple yet massive question: “Do you know me?”
The cabby answers as one might not expect him to. Wouldn’t someone remember meeting a talking lion who could create everything out of nothing? Almost certainly. However, even though he had never heard of Narnia and most likely had never even seen a lion (who has ever seen a lion roaming the streets of London?), his response
indicates a connection with Aslan he never realized until that very moment: “Yet I feel somehow…as how we’ve met before.”
Every man and woman has a hole inside of them that has been placed by God Himself and therefore can only be filled by God Himself. We see this in every day situations (the following is a paraphrasing of a C.S. Lewis quote): when we are hungry, we crave food; eating fills that void. When we are thirsty, we crave a drink; this quenches our thirst and meets that need. But when we desire something that cannot be filled—something no earthly thing can remove the emptiness from—it must logically mean that we long for something outside the realm of this world. As we are beings created in the image of an eternal God, we can deduct that there are holes inside of us that only He can fill. We have, therefore, always known God, and this is made evident through the desires deep inside that are only fulfilled in His presence.
The cabby always knew Jesus. He may have never uttered the name of God or confessed his shortcomings, but he knew—deep down—a personal, loving God. He knew Him in the sense of familiarity, as if an old friend stood in front of Him. As you read through today’s scripture, thank God that He has always known us. Thank God that we have always known Him. Reflect on your life and the events that have led you to where you are today. Can you see traces of His presence, like a Godly shadow that has surrounded you since you first set foot on this earth? The cabby, whisked into a world he had never been before, still knew the great Lion. Thank you, God, for the knowledge of You that has always existed deep inside of us.
Psalm 139:13-16, Romans 1:20, 1 John 4:19
Day 7: Aslan’s Country
“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…Come further up, come further in!” (The Last Battle, 1956).
A Walk in Narnia
The Last Battle begins a rather silly Narnian tale, as an intimidating Ape tricks a gullible donkey into dressing up as Aslan, the omniscient Lion. Yet it quickly transforms into a dark, even troubling tale that speaks boldly of End Times. Throughout the entire story, one question remains on the minds of those who refuse to believe this pretender is the actual Lion: “Where is the real Aslan?” If this lion-imposter is not him, yet mockingly pretends to be him, why has the real Aslan not shown up and made things right?
After a great battle and a visit to a mysterious stable, King Tirian finds himself face-to- face with seven of the eight humans who have visited the land of Narnia. Along with Jewel the Unicorn—Tirian’s closest companion—the group finds themselves permanently in Aslan’s Country, a world that mimics Narnia but is more beautiful and lovely in every way. Jewel, looking around him and breathing in every detail, pronounces the most beautiful phrase his lips have ever uttered: “I have come home at last! This is my real country!”
Let us never forget why we do what we do as Christ-followers. Since Adam and Eve chose to eat the fruit of death in the garden so long ago, mankind has been striving and longing to reconcile perfect relationship with God and get back to the Garden. Thankfully—worshipfully—Jesus came to earth as a man (He had to be the same race as those who originally brought sin into the world) and braved the Cross to bring us back into rightful relationship with God Himself. This hope now lives in us, and everything we do on this temporary earth speaks of a never-ending Eternity that is beyond comprehension of our minds, senses and souls.
This hope pushes us to make disciples, die to our sin daily and live faithfully. Let us never forget that while we may never reach Aslan’s Country, we will most certainly reach Heaven, where we will enjoy uninterrupted communion forever with the personal God of the universe. We are almost home; we are nearing our real country at last. Are you ready? Are you clinging to the hope set before you, of a land where Jesus walks and sin is nonexistent? A land where fear is impossible to find and even nature has shed its sinful skin? Take today and, despite whatever pain or difficult situations you may be facing, remember the land we are soon going to. This earth is not our home.
Hebrews 10:23, Revelation 21:3-7