I have read the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis many times, and I can now see much more symbolism and depth than I did before.
Two parts stuck out to me from ‘The Horse and His Boy’ when I read it recently, and made me think about the way God works sometimes.
‘Shasta’s heart fainted at these words for he felt he had no strength left. And he writhed inside at what seemed the cruelty and unfairness of the demand. He had not yet learned that if you do one good deed your reward usually is to be set to do another and harder and better one.’
In the parable of the talents, each of the stewards are given a certain number of talents and the ones who use them wisely are rewarded with more. In the same way if we do one job well that God has given us, we might well be rewarded with a harder job!
On the face of it, it seems a bit strange. But the ultimate reward of doing a harder job is greater and it gives us the opportunity to grow in our faith, so it does make sense.
The other comes shortly after in the story, where Aravis, Shasta's fellow traveller, has her wounds from the scratches of a lion dressed by the Hermit. He says,
‘”It must have been a very strange lion; for instead of catching you out of the saddle and getting his teeth into you, he has only drawn his claws across your back. Ten scratches: sore, but not deep or dangerous.”
“I say!” said Aravis. “I have had luck.”
“Daughter,” said the Hermit, “I have now lived a hundred and nine winters in this world and have never yet any such thing as luck. There is something about all this that I do not understand; but if ever we need to know it, you may be sure that we shall.”
And he was right, because later Aslan, the great Lion, talks to Aravis and tells her that he was the one who gave her those scratches, and they were wound for wound, the same as her servant had after she was whipped for being drugged by Aravis.
There is something deep in here which we often struggle to come to terms with – that God loves us, and in that love He also disciplines us. ‘My son do not despise the Lord’s discipline, nor be weary of His reproof. For whom the Lord loves He chastens, just as a father the son in whom he delights.’ Prov 3:12
But that doesn’t mean that bad things that happen to us are God’s discipline either, because there are all kinds of other reasons why God lets things happen - some of which we may never know while we live on the earth.
What happens to us, whether good or bad, is not luck or coincidence, but God’s providence. And we can’t be harmed without Him allowing it. We may not understand it at the time, but we can be sure that if we love the Lord He will work it all out for our good.
I like what the Hermit said, that there is no such thing as luck. And I think it is good to be open to the possibility that God might be testing us, or giving us harder jobs to do, or disciplining us. Then we might be more inclined to respond well rather than sinking into despondency and self pity.
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