In the Lion’s Paws

Has your child ever succumbed to peer pressure—even when he knew what he was doing was wrong? In his children's book Prince Caspian, C. S. Lewis considers the question of fidelity, and at the same time illustrates how stories can be used to make profound theological points. If you've read the seven-book series The Chronicles of Narnia, you may remember that in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, four children named Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy travel to a magical country named Narnia, where they rule as kings and queens. In the next book in the series, Prince Caspian, the children are sent back to Narnia to help the young Prince Caspian, recover his kingdom from his wicked uncle. But the children are unable to find their way through the forest to where Caspian is in hiding. Suddenly the great lion Aslan, the allegorical representation of Christ, appears to Lucy. He reveals to her which path to take to find Caspian. But the other children are unable to see Aslan, and they refuse to believe that Lucy has seen him either. They insist that Lucy accompany them along another, less arduous path. Lucy reluctantly agrees. But this route leads to danger. When the children approach their destination, enemy soldiers attack them, forcing a retreat. That night, as the exhausted children lay sleeping in the woods, Aslan again appears to Lucy. Joyfully, she greets the Lion, who enfolds Lucy in his huge, golden paws. "Lucy," he said, "we must not lie here for long. You have work in hand, and much time has been lost today." Lucy is quick to blame her siblings for leading them astray. But Aslan will not allow this. "I'm sorry," said Lucy…"I didn't mean to start slanging the others. But it wasn't my fault anyway, was it?" The Lion looked straight into her eyes. "Oh Aslan," said Lucy. "You don't mean it was? How could I—I couldn't have left the others and come up to you alone, could I? Don't look at me like that… oh, well, I suppose I could. Yes, and it wouldn't have been alone, I know, not if I was with you." Lewis then describes how Lucy buries her face in Aslan's golden mane, overcome with shame. The Lion forgives Lucy, tells her how to right her wrong, and gives her the strength to do it. The story is a powerful presentation of a central truth of the Gospel. God does show us the way. But because of our rebelliousness—or because we desire the approval of others—we sometimes follow our own path instead of the one God has mapped out for us. It's the Christian story of sin and redemption, told for children. What a remarkable gift Lewis had, that he could tell this story for children in a way that has captivated the imaginations of countless millions. Lewis knew that storytelling provides a powerful device for communicating the profoundest truths; he hoped to provide his readers with glimpses of heaven. I think he succeeded. You and I ought to cultivate a yearning in our own children for Aslan’s embrace. Read the Narnia tales to your kids at an early age. Who knows: You may even find your own heart encouraged to follow the path He has given you.


Chuck Colson


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