December 9, 2010
When the Fog Settles In
by Sarah Jennings, Crosswalk.com Family Editor
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction,
that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.
One of my favorite scenes in children's literature can be found in one of C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, The Horse and His Boy.
It occurs well into the story, when the main character -- an orphaned boy named Shasta - has endured many battles and adventures with his talking horse companion by his side. Now he arrives at a part in the journey where he must travel alone in order to warn a neighboring kingdom of impending attack. As he travels in the wilderness, fog settles in.
As the fog thickens into opaque clouds, Shasta suddenly senses another presence walking beside him. Heavy breathing, large paws...a lion is within inches of him and his common horse. Paralyzed with terror, the boy rides on for quite some time, awaiting his tragic end. Finally, the wait becomes too agonizing, and he cries out to the presence, demanding to know who it is and why he's there. What follows is a beautiful conversation between Shasta and King Aslan - who has been anxious to speak with him for some time.
But it doesn't end there. As Shasta reaches Archenland, he is able to complete his mission, and the reader sighs in relief. But when he looks back at the path he traveled, he is stunned to see what the fog concealed - a narrow and treacherous mountain pass with deadly cliffs on one side. Only then does it become clear to Shasta and the reader that Aslan's presence and encouraging words quite literally saved Shasta's life.
I may be young, but I recognize this foggy journey. I know what it's like to look down a winding path that seems to stretch endlessly into murkiness. I know what it's like to feel alone, afraid, and confused, and you probably do too. You question if you'll have the endurance to see the trial through, to make it to your destination.
We obviously don't have a Narnian lion to converse with and walk beside us when life gets tough (wouldn't that be nice?). But God does walk with us and speak to us in the real world, even when the road feels lonely and frightening.
In this second Advent reading, we see God gave us His Word as a source of hope and encouragement. He has not left us alone here, blind and fumbling through the fog. He has words of wisdom He is anxious to share with you.
God also reveals his steadfast and encouraging nature through fellow believers. The second part of the verse above reads: "May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus" (v. 5). I can't count the times I have received invaluable support during a difficult stretch from another believer's wisdom or love.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Even when we feel alone, we aren't. If you're struggling, make time to find God in His Word and in the fellowship of other believers. If you're joyful, what ways can you reach out to someone who is going through a trial this holiday season?