For the past few weeks, a group of kids from our church, my young adult daughters, and I have been walking through The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe together. Unlike Narnia, where it was always Winter, yet never Christmas, Texas seems like it’s always Summer — and never Chill.
Anyways, it’s been refreshing to visit Narnia this Summer, where the spell is breaking and Spring is on the way. Thank God for C.S. Lewis’ childlike imagination!
This morning, before all the kids showed up, a friend and elder texted me with sad news about a friend who had apparently ended his own life. After a couple of other texts, the sad news was confirmed and our hearts were (and still are) crushed, for him and for all involved and affected by this tragic news.
It just so happened that today was the day the kids and I were supposed to walk up the hill to the Stone Table and witness the dramatic and epic show-down between Aslan the King and Jadis the Queen.
There, Aslan was tied, shaved, muzzled, mocked, shoved, taunted.
Then Jadis raised her stone-like blade and whispered to him, “Despair and die.” And the King was dead.
For the kids who did not yet know how the story ends, this was a sad and shocking scene.
At that point, I couldn’t help but pause for a moment and ponder over the sad news I had received earlier. The friend that died was someone’s son, a husband, a father, and a friend to many others.
I don’t know any details, but I do know that some people find their story to be too dark and dreadful. Sadly, defeat leads to despair, and despair leads to death.
That prompted me to share this with a couple of friends:
Not a few times in my life has the devil whispered in my ear and urged me to end it all. I am deeply sympathetic with those who struggle with this burden.
One friend replied that, many years ago he was minutes away from taking his own life, but his wife came home and stopped him.
Thank God she did! Since then, by God’s grace, he has come to know the saving power of Christ the Lord and he has helped many others come to know him as well.
We cannot know all the reasons why one person deals with the stuff of life one way while another deals with it another way. But one thing we can do is keep reading the story we’re in, keep turning the pages, keep on going all the way to the end.
That’s what the Pevensie children did. They learned by experience that the world is a scary and dangerous place, full of troubles and tears, bad decisions and gentle corrections.
They also learned that there is more going on than meets the eye.
The King is on the move, in seen and unseen ways. His face is terrible and beautiful. His eyes are joyful, yet sorrowful. He is not safe, but he is good. He meekly laid down his life for his friend, and he mercilessly devoured the life of his enemy. As it turns out, his bite is worse than his roar.
After the kids and I read the end of the story, and saw how Aslan devoured the Witch, and how his army destroyed hers, I closed the book and said, “What’s the point of the story?”
Here’s the point of this story:
Life swallows Death.
The Lion who was dead swallowed the Witch who was alive. Always remember, and never forget that life swallows death.
Say that with me: Life swallows Death. Again: Life swallows Death. One more time: Life swallows Death.
No matter how scary life gets, or how sad the news is, always remember the end of the story: Life swallows Death.
That’s not just true for people in Narnia, it’s also true for you and me.
Jesus laid down his life for you and me, and he took it up again for you and me. He was dead, and now he lives for ever, for you and me.
Life swallows death is the story of the gospel.
Therefore, we can live with hope, whether it’s winter, or spring, or even summer.
I needed to remember this today.
And you do too.