Fear comes into our hearts when we can’t see. Fear breeds in situations of uncertainty when we don’t know the way to go. When we feel like we have been left out in the wilderness without a compass.
“Ah, you’ve come over the water. Powerful wet stuff, ain’t it?”
The Narnia series by C.S. Lewis are still some of my favorite books, and every time I read them I find something new that I didn’t catch on to before. I have always been captivated by a well-done fantasy story and Narnia does not disappoint. Over and over again I find myself coming back to experience the beautiful world of Narnia, but more importantly, for C.S. Lewis’s talented ability to draw out an imagery and comparison to walking in a genuine relationship with Christ.
I recently read through all of the books again and expected, as I always have, to come to the conclusion that The Horse and His Boy and The Magician’s Nephew are the best books in the series. However, this latest reading gave me a better appreciation for The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, King Caspian is sailing the unknown seas past the familiar coast of Narnia in order to try to find seven missing lords who had disappeared. During the voyage, the crew aboard the ship encounter a strange and drearisome sight: The Dark Island.
“About nine that morning, very suddenly, it was so close that they could see that it was not land at all, nor even, in an ordinary sense, a mist. It was a Darkness…they could see the water looking pale and gray as it would look late in the evening. But beyond that again, utter blackness as if they had come to the edge of moonless and starless night.”
The crew decides to enter the Dark Island, under pressure from Reepicheep, the brave and enduring mouse. The situation quickly becomes bleak as they venture further into the darkness and they realize that this is a place where their worst nightmares come true. “Drinian’s hand shook on the tiller and a line of cold sweat ran down his face. The same idea was occurring to everyone on board. “We shall never get out, never get out,” moaned the rowers. “He’s steering us wrong. We’re going round and round in circles. We shall never get out.”
In this desolate and cheerless place, full of eternal woe, Lucy calls out to Aslan for help. “Aslan, Aslan, if ever you loved us at all, send us help now.” Suddenly there is a stream of light and Lucy looks up to realize that an albatross is flying over the ship, singing a comforting song as it flew, leading the ship to safety. “But no one except Lucy knew that as it circled the mast it had whispered to her, “Courage, dear heart,” and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan’s, and with the voice a delicious smell breathed in her face.”
I can relate to the complete dread that Lucy and the crew aboard the Dawn Treader felt. I know what it’s like to feel abandoned. I know what it’s like to be crippled by the unknown. I know what it’s like to feel like the pain will never end and to be crushed by fear and doubt. Infertility is a confusing, frightening place. It feels like a dead-end, leading nowhere, and when you think you are finally coming to a solution, you are once again thwarted and sent back to square one.
“But I will not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river. But do not fear that, for I am the great Bridge Builder.”
Thankfully the story does not end with the crew aboard the Dawn Treader being left to wallow in fear and misery. Lucy cries out, and Aslan answers her; He leads them out of the treacherous waters, and fills their hearts with confidence. I am certain that soon God will answer my cry, that He will lift up my head, help me walk this difficult path, and build my faith. “Please, Aslan,” said Lucy, “what do you call soon?” “I call all times soon,” said Aslan.” Even if I have to ask for this renewal of confidence every month, when my heart begins to fail, I know He will help me. If I cry out to Him, He will hear me. I know that I can say this even though I do not know when I will be delivered or what that will look like, but I do know that it will be better than what my limited-mind can imagine.
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord! Psalm 27: 13 – 14
What does the “goodness of the Lord” look like for me and for you? What does it mean to let our heart take courage? There will undoubtedly be times when our worst nightmares creep in and overwhelm us, and the light of the shining open seas seems impossibly far away. But we cannot live there. We can choose whether we want to live on the Dark Island, lost in despair, or whether we want to live where God wants us to live: striving for that stream of light breaking into the darkness, free from the bondage of fear. Just like Lucy, we need to ask, with confidence, for God to remember us and turn His ear to our cries. “I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and He will hear me.” Psalm 77:1
Hebrews 10: 32- 39 reminds us that we have a reason to stand our ground during wearisome and difficult days:
“But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. For,
“Yet a little while,
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”
So today I am praying that God will grant you a spirit of peace. Peace that only He can give you. Peace that He has promised to give to you. I pray that you will not listen to what the world says you should put your hope in or what it says will give you peace. I pray that your heart will not be troubled, that you will not shrink back, and that you will not be overcome by fear of the unknown (John 14:27).
I pray that you will be filled with courage to face your painful circumstances while you remember the courage that Jesus had when enduring the cross on our behalf, how our Savior “spoke not a word, but chose to be silent, You did no wrong, nor was deceitfulness found in You.” – Mark Robin, Highly Exalted
Have courage to rest in the knowledge that God is preparing you to be a determined warrior in this fight. After all, “Extraordinary things only happen to extraordinary people.”
All quotes are taken from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis, unless otherwise specified.