Monday, 18 December 2017

He's Right There; Do You See Him?


Sometimes we live in a fog we don’t even know exists. 

It’s like we’re seeing, but not really. 

Whether it’s the fog of busyness, distraction, ambition, or our own self-made purpose, sometimes we fail to see with our whole person. It’s as if the scales have not fallen fully from our eyes, the connection between 'eye seeing' and 'soul seeing' has not yet been made, and we miss it… miss the Glory being proclaimed in the midst of our chaos… miss the Truth that is unchanging yet life-changing… miss the Miracle of Christmas in the fog of tradition. 

This Glory, this Truth, this Miracle becomes an 'unwelcome fellow traveler' until we finally see… but, oh, the joy, the peace that is ours once we 'see'.

This Christmas, I’m sharing with you my favorite excerpt from The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis. As we join the story, Shasta is all alone, feeling rather sorry for himself for all the misfortunes he has experienced; he is caught up in a fog – a real and spiritual one – until he finally sees.

My prayer for us all this Christmas is that we all see like Shasta saw and respond like he did.

And being very tired and having nothing inside him, he felt so sorry for himself that the tears rolled down his cheeks. 
What put a stop to all this was a sudden fright. Shasta discovered that someone or somebody was walking beside him. It was pitch dark and he could see nothing. And the Thing (or Person) was going so quietly that he could hardly hear any footfalls. What he could hear was breathing. His invisible companion seemed to breathe on a very large scale, and Shasta got the impression that it was a very large creature. And he had come to notice this breathing so gradually that he had really no idea how long it had been there. It was a horrible shock. 
It darted into his mind that he had heard long ago that there were giants in these Northern countries. He bit his lip in terror. But now that he really had something to cry about, he stopped crying. 
The Thing (unless it was a Person) went on beside him so very quietly that Shasta began to hope he had only imagined it. But just as he was becoming quite sure of it, there suddenly came a deep, rich sigh out of the darkness beside him. That couldn't be imagination! Anyway, he had felt the hot breath of that sigh on his chilly left hand.If the horse had been any good - or if he had known how to get any good out of the horse - he would have risked everything on a breakaway and a wild gallop. But he knew he couldn't make that horse gallop. So he went on at a walking pace and the unseen companion walked and breathed beside him. At last he could bear it no longer. 
"Who are you?" he said, scarcely above a whisper. 
"One who has waited long for you to speak," said the Thing. Its voice was not loud, but very large and deep. 
"Are you- are you a giant?" asked Shasta. 
"You might call me a giant," said the Large Voice. "But I am not like the creatures you call giants." 
"I can't see you at all," said Shasta, after staring very hard. Then (for an even more terrible idea had come into his head) he said, almost in a scream, "You're not - not something dead, are you? Oh please - please do go away. What harm have I ever done you? Oh, I am the unluckiest person in the whole world!" Once more he felt the warm breath of the Thing on his hand and face. "There," it said, "that is not the breath of a ghost. Tell me your sorrows." 
Shasta was a little reassured by the breath: so he told how he had never known his real father or mother and had been brought up sternly by the fisherman. And then he told the story of his escape and how they were chased by lions and forced to swim for their lives; and of all their dangers in Tashbaan and about his night among the tombs and how the beasts howled at him out of the desert. And he told about the heat and thirst of their desert journey and how they were almost at their goal when another lion chased them and wounded Aravis. And also, how very long it was since he had had anything to eat. 
"I do not call you unfortunate," said the Large Voice. 
"Don't you think it was bad luck to meet so many lions?" said Shasta. 
"There was only one lion," said the Voice. 
"What on earth do you mean? I've just told you there were at least two the first night, and-" 
"There was only one: but he was swift of foot." 
"How do you know?" 
"I was the lion." And as Shasta gaped with open mouth and said nothing, the Voice continued. "I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you." 
"Then it was you who wounded Aravis?" 
"It was I" 
"But what for?" 
"Child," said the Voice, "I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own." 
"Who are you?" asked Shasta. 
"Myself," said the Voice, very deep and low so that the earth shook: and again "Myself", loud and clear and gay: and then the third time "Myself", whispered so softly you could hardly hear it, and yet it seemed to come from all round you as if the leaves rustled with it. 
Shasta was no longer afraid that the Voice belonged to something that would eat him, nor that it was the voice of a ghost. But a new and different sort of trembling came over him. Yet he felt glad too. 
The mist was turning from black to grey and from grey to white. This must have begun to happen some time ago, but while he had been talking to the Thing he had not been noticing anything else. Now, the whiteness around him became a shining whiteness; his eyes began to blink. Somewhere ahead he could hear birds singing. He knew the night was over at last. He could see the mane and ears and head of his horse quite easily now. A golden light fell on them from the left. He thought it was the sun. 
He turned and saw, pacing beside him, taller than the horse, a Lion. The horse did not seem to be afraid of it or else could not see it. It was from the Lion that the light came. No one ever saw anything more terrible or beautiful. 
Luckily Shasta had lived all his life too far south in Calormen to have heard the tales that were whispered in Tashbaan about a dreadful Narnian demon that appeared in the form of a lion. And of course he knew none of the true stories about Aslan, the great Lion, the son of the Emperor-over-the-sea, the King above all High Kings in Narnia. But after one glance at the Lion's face he slipped out of the saddle and fell at its feet. He couldn't say anything but then he didn't want to say anything, and he knew he needn't say anything. 
The High King above all kings stooped towards him. Its mane, and some strange and solemn perfume that hung about the mane, was all round him. It touched his forehead with its tongue. He lifted his face and their eyes met. Then instantly the pale brightness of the mist and the fiery brightness of the Lion rolled themselves together into a swirling glory and gathered themselves up and disappeared. He was alone with the horse on a grassy hillside under a blue sky. And there were birds singing.

May we also hear the birds singing at Christmas and all through the New Year.

Blessings,

Carlie


"Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals.  And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?”  But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it.  I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.  Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Revelation 5: 1-5

4 comments:

  1. You really took me in with this one, Carlie and you made me think of all the times I was protected and watched over, but all I saw was misfortune -- never knowing that it was for my good.
    Beautiful as always. And so timely.
    Blessings to you, my sister!

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    1. Glad it made you think, Marv; I read this passage many years ago, but it has always stayed with me. It's such a beautiful depiction of Christ's forever presence with us.

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  2. I love the Narnia series. I have been reading them to my grade 3/4 class. How often have I missed seeing Him? Busyness? Looking too hard? Not enough? Distractions? All sorts of things. The Narnia series has spoken much truth to my heart over the years.
    Thanks for sharing on Grace and Truth.

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    1. Thank you, Aimee! I read this with my son a long time ago, and I hope it stays with him as it does with me. Praying it'll be a blessing to your class.

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