Inklings

What Shasta’s Story Can Teach Us: Inklings Week 2022

Welcome to Inklings Week 2022! Kicking off the week with some wisdom and inspiration from The Horse and His Boy of The Chronicles of Narnia. Hope you enjoy!

After several trials and adventures, Shasta, the young protagonist of C.S. Lewis’s The Horse and His Boy, finally encounters Aslan. One he’s heard so much about, although what he heard was not at all pleasant or true. At this point in the story, he’s feeling rather sad about his lot and all that he had experienced up until then, and I can’t say I completely blame him for feeling like he does. But as he is finding his way alone (after having to leave his companions behind), he encounters Aslan. 

He isn’t quite sure what to make of him at first, but then he finds out the beautiful reality. After Shasta makes a comment about the bad luck of meeting so many lions, Aslan says:

“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.”

Shasta’s encounter with Aslan is one of my favorite scenes from all of Lewis’ Narnia books. It continues with Aslan finally revealing himself to Shasta. Lewis describes it so beautifully:

“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.

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.”

I never tire of reading this scene!

There are so many truths about God I see every time I read The Horse and His Boy. I’m reminded that God is there for us, even when we don’t see it. He shows up in unexpected ways. And He doesn’t shut us down when we lose our focus or our way. He is there waiting for us. This not only fills my heart up with hope, but courage as well. 

This truth, this wonderful life-changing truth, is a reminder for those times I don’t feel God’s presence or heavy things threaten to cause never ending dismay. He’s the Lion who will sometimes push us, will often comfort us like the cat in a graveyard, will defend us from darkness we can’t see, and is always the Light that guides us. We can trust in His promises.

“So do not fear, for I am with you;

    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you;

    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

We don’t have to be courageous all on our own. We don’t have to do things all on our own. We can find comfort in the words the Psalmist wrote centuries ago: “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26 (NIV)

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