The lion’s tears

I felt a strong urge to write when Edith came, but so far I only have words here and there; fragmented parts of things sitting in different documents, none of them actually becoming a cohesive piece of words and thoughts. I have always found letter writing to be an easier way for me to use words, so I took to writing letters to Edith. Here is number two.

“But please, please—won’t you—can’t you give me something that will cure Mother?” Up till then he had been looking at the Lion’s great feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at his face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion’s eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory’s own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself.
(The Magician’s Nephew, C.S. Lewis)

d55825622573dc21cdfaaca849453ebcDear Edith,

This is probably the seventh or eighth time this year that I have read or heard The Magician’s Nephew. Your dad and I always listen to it on long car rides and my fourth graders and I are reading through it now. Every time I read it, there is something new to discover. Remember that. The best books are the ones that seem new to you every time you read them.

This passage almost made me cry when I read it last week. Aslan has asked Digory to go on an important journey that will preserve the future of Narnia. Digory’s mother is back in our world, near death, and Digory thinks that Aslan is the last chance for help. His despair is growing, and all this time he is looking down at the lion’s paws and the huge claws on them.

Sometimes life’s circumstances feel fierce and sharp and unrelenting. Often these moments can make us feel as if God is a God with claws and sharp teeth and that life hurts; that He hurts. It is true, of course, that the pain will always yield a good outcome for those who believe. It is true, of course, that your suffering is not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed. But it is one thing to hear and understand those words and another to believe them and find there solace and comfort. It can—and must—be done. But there is something more that He gives you in those painful times.

His face with tears in His eyes.

Digory feels the sting and the pain of the lion’s great claws, but when he looks up, he sees there that Aslan cares deeply. That he feels something for Digory, something for his mother. That he is not just a powerful creature with authority and strength. He sympathizes and he feels and he weeps with his children. Keep your heart soft always so that you can see His tears and believe that He shares in your pain.

The suffering is for your good, yes. It is preparing you for a greater vision of the Lord Himself, and it will be better that you suffer than not. But in the moments when those sound like nice phrases that you know you ought to believe more than you do, look up at his face and allow Him to weep with you.

“My son, my son,” said Aslan. “I know.”

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