Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The answer is in the journey

In an effort to mend by divorce from reading fiction over the past few years, I recently picked up a copy of The Chronicles of Narnia and started reading this childhood classic. Somehow, I missed out on reading these when I was a kid. I guess I was too into Nancy Drew and solving mysteries, so C.S. Lewis and his vivid characters are very fresh for me. And even though these tales are aimed at children, the truths found in the tale are so powerful for where I am in life, in a season where nothing seems to make sense. Here is one concept that really jumped out to me from the first book.

In The Magician's Nephew, the main character Diggory asks Aslan to heal his mother, who was terminally ill. Instead of doing so, Aslan sends Diggory on a journey to retrieve fruit from the tree of life. Diggory obeys, of course, but does so thinking that his request to Aslan was just going to be ignored. He thinks that Aslan said, "no" to the most important and pressing question on his mind.

But he obeys anyway.

He obeys even though he anticipates that the most important person in his life would be lost--due, in part, to his obedience to Aslan.

While he is on the journey, Jadis (a.k.a. the White Witch) pounces on his doubts and reveals that the fruit he retrieved could, in fact, heal his mother. But (after some internal debate) Diggory still takes the fruit back to Aslan, and he is able to plant the tree that protects Narnia from Jadis for many years.

Now here is where the story gets interesting. The tree immediately takes root, sprouts and produces fruit. And Aslan tells Diggory that he can take some of the fruit to his mother to save her.

I think C.S. Lewis is making a powerful observation about how God answers prayers and how He works in lives. When I ask for something, God is far more likely to give us a mission to complete. Maybe it's large, or maybe it's small, but it is all for the Kingdom. It is out of that mission that I find the answer or the solution or the wisdom that I wanted all along.

The answers I need are rarely handed to me on a silver platter, and they wouldn't do any good even if they were. It's through the experiences of life that I learn the most, and in turn, can share my story with others. The answer is in the journey. And I am okay with that.


  1. Good analysis, but PLEASE tell me you're not reading them in "chronological" order - they are so much better and make more sense if read first in Lewis' order. For instance, the whole point of "The Magician's Nephew" is to explain how that whole land of Narnia that you've been reading about in the 5 previous books got there, including famous landmarks that you've already seen. It was some stupid American publisher who decided to start putting them in the chronological order and not Lewis' original order.

    Anyways - that's my opinion. :-) I am glad you're finally reading them! They were a big part of my childhood.

  2. There is probably good to be found in reading them in both orders, but I am reading them chronologically, as they are arranged in my anthology. Actually, the commentary of my book claims that Lewis intended them to be read in chronological order, according to a letter he wrote to a reader in 1956. I'm not sure how that represents Lewis' true feelings on the subject, but I really don't have too much of a preference since I didn't grow up reading them. I will probably go back and read the Magician's Nephew again after I have read all the books. They are so great! The Horse and His Boy is my favorite so far.