How would you feel if you had experienced a perfectly wonderful adventure and then had to return to your normal life? Usual things in your life would seem very dull and ordinary. But what if you had a chance to go back ... back to the land of adventure ... back to the land of Narnia? That’s what happened to Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, much to their surprise. And they were even more surprised to find that Narnia had changed.
When the four children were last in Narnia, they were ruling as kings and queens and the land was at peace. Now their famed castle, Cair Paravel, lay in ruins and the true heir to the throne, Prince Caspian, was fighting to free the kingdom from his own uncle, and the evil Telemarines. How could it have all turned out so wrong?
When Trumpkin the Dwarf told the children the story of Caspian’s childhood, they began to understand. Old Narnia had been lost in the dim mists of the past, the former glories forgotten when the Telemarines took over. Now the tales of talking trees and woodland creatures were laughed at, and the story of Aslan’s death and resurrection treated as a child’s fairy tale. As a result, the peace and happiness that Aslan had brought to his creation was destroyed. How much Narnia had lost!
Our world is much like that. When God first created the world, it was beautiful. Adam and Eve enjoyed peace with the animals and joy with each other. They cared for the Garden of Eden and walked and talked with God each evening. How glorious it must have been. But then sin invaded. Adam and Eve were tempted to forget all that God had done for them and disobeyed God’s command not to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. After all, wasn’t God all-knowing? Why couldn’t they be too? With that decision, they and the entire world changed. Their peace and joy changed to fear and worry. Their perfect bodies began to feel pain and eventually death, and they were forced to leave their beautiful garden, All was lost, or so they thought.
However, God had a plan to rescue mankind. He sent his own son, Jesus, to live on earth, die a terrible death as a sacrifice for our sin, and then return to life to give all who believe in him eternal life. How wonderful! A chance to regain and perfect the former glories of God’s creation. But many have forgotten that sacrifice. Many even say God doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter. Many choose to “do their own thing” instead of turning to God, the creator of the universe.
The children didn’t come back to Narnia by choice, even though they were glad to return. They had been summoned by a desperate blowing of the enchanted horn that originally belonged to Susan. But why? What could four children do to set the whole world of Narnia right again?
At the very least they could answer Prince Caspian’s call for help. So they began their journey from the island through Beruna to Aslan’s How. However, things did not go well. They lost their way in the changed landscape and didn’t know which direction to turn. Then Lucy saw Aslan showing them the way. But the others didn’t see the Great Lion and decided to make their own plans, much to Lucy’s bitter disappointment. Off they went down into the gorge with Lucy trailing after them. Should she have gone the way Aslan said, even if she had to go alone?
Have you ever had someone not believe something you knew to be true? It’s not very nice, and in fact it can make you angry. But it can also make you fearful and worried. Maybe you have it wrong after all, or at least, you don’t want to be different from others. So instead of doing what you know to be right when others are doing wrong, you decide to go along with them. Not a good choice, either in Narnia or in this world.
After running into all kinds of obstacles and being shot at by King Miraz’s sentries, the children realized their mistake and returned to the top of the gorge. And here, in the middle of the night, Lucy met Aslan face to face. She couldn’t imagine anything more wonderful and hugged him with all her might. But then she had to hang her head in shame when Aslan reminded her that she knew which way to go and chose to follow the others instead. Then once more Aslan had Lucy tell her brothers, sister and Trumpkin she has seen Aslan and they must follow him.
After some convincing, the children agree to follow Lucy, even though they still couldn’t see Aslan yet. But slowly, the longer and closer they followed Lucy, who was following Aslan, they began to see the Great Lion. Then they had to make their apologies for not believing Lucy or obeying Aslan’s commands. Even Trumpkin, who said he’d never seen or believed in Aslan, was confronted with the truth and had to believe in spite of himself.
Believing in God and following him can be a lot like the children’s difficulty. All but Trumpkin had met Aslan before and knew that he was wise and good. Even though they couldn’t see him, they still knew that following him was the best way. So how do you follow someone you can’t see? We can’t see God, yet we can still follow him by reading his Word the Bible. The Bible is God’s way of speaking to us, telling us about himself, his plan to rescue us, and showing how he wants us to live and act. We can also talk to God in prayer and he will answer, not likely in an audible voice, but in changing our hearts and in working in the situations around us.
In the story, the Great Aslan was working to make things right again. But first a battle was required between Caspian and the Narnians, and King Miraz and his Telemarine army. Did you wonder why the battle took place at Aslan’s How? Do you remember what the How was made up of? It was the stone table, the very table where Aslan sacrificed his life for Edmund. But the table wasn’t all one piece anymore. It broke in two when Aslan returned to life. He had made a sacrifice that would never have to be made again. Over time, a hill had formed around it with trees and grass and cave carved out underneath. A special, awesome place. The right place to defend the ways of Old Narnia against King Miraz and his army.
However, not all was well in Prince Caspian’s council. There was dissension in the camp. Nikabrik, one of the prince’s advisors, was fed up waiting for the help he said would never come. Instead he had his own plan; to use the magic powers of the White Witch to defeat Miraz. He didn’t believe Aslan ever existed, and even if he did, he believed the White Witch was more powerful.
How often do we think we know best in a situation? How often do we ask God for help first when things are bad? God is usually our last resort, isn’t he? Then we bargain and say, “if you’ll help me, then I’ll be good and follow you.” But that isn’t really believing, is it? That’s a selfish attitude. God is not our servant. He’s the King of the Universe. We serve him, not the other way around. So we don’t get to say, “I’m tired of waiting for God to act. I’ll fix things myself.” Nikabrik found that out. He ended up losing his life when Peter, Edmund and Trumpkin rushed in to stop the sorcery.
At first the battle was slow to begin. Peter challenged King Miraz to fight a duel with him, and Miraz was tricked by his own councillors into accepting the challenge even though he feared he would lose. And so he did, but Peter didn’t kill him. His own councillors did that. Then the real battle began, but it was short because the Telemarines are easily routed by the Narnian army. Meanwhile, Aslan went through the towns and villages, freeing and healing the inhabitants until the evil curse was broken.
When the Telemarine soldiers finally meet Aslan they fell on their knees. But they are not worshipping him. Now that they knew Aslan is real and powerful, they recognized just how much trouble they are in. They are trembling with fear.
Aslan’s followers also bowed to him, but with joy. They held a great celebration, not only for their victory in battle, but because Aslan has restored Old Narnia. Aslan also made Prince Caspian King of Narnia.
It will be that way at the end of time when Jesus returns to earth. Everyone will then know that God really does exist and that he is the King of the Universe. Everyone will bow down to him, those who hate him and those who love him. Those who hate him must receive punishment for their sins, but those who trusted in Jesus’ sacrifice for forgiveness and followed him in this world, will enjoy life with God forever. Which group will you be in?
The author, a member of Cornerstone OPC, Ambler, Pennsylvania, is the author of Christian biographies for young people.
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