“No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t do it myself. Then he came towards me. It sort of hurt, but… it was a good pain. You know, like when you pull a thorn from your foot.” – Eustace (Prince Caspian and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader)
For as long as I can remember, The Chronicles of Narnia have always been my favourite books and movies. There have been others that I’ve enjoyed immensely, but nothing has ever stuck with my quite like Narnia. C.S. Lewis is a brilliant writer and has a way with words that I could only dream of having. I have favourite lines from each of the books, but this one from the newer movies is quite possible my absolute favourite of all time. It’s right after Aslan changes Eustace (the Pevensies cousin) back into a boy from a dragon. Lucy (The Valiant, and youngest daughter of Eve) is asking him what it felt like, and the above quote is his response.
Up until this point Eustace is an annoying, self entitled, know it all, brat who thinks he is too good to be on the Dawn Treader with this lot, and doesn’t believe in Aslan. While the crew is setting up camp, Eustace goes off on his own, discovering a cave of treasure. The greed gets the better of him and turns him into a dragon. The symbolism of Eustace being turned into a dragon is great in and of itself. Throughout time dragons have been the image of greed and hoarding, so it comes as no surprise that Lewis chose to use a dragon to convey his point. However the language in which Eustace describes his first encounter with Lewis is bone chilling and such a true representation of our walk with Christ.
If we are truly honest with ourselves for once, we will admit that we are a) not perfect b) constant sinners and c) perpetually in need of Gods grace over our lives. No matter how hard we try, or what we like to think, we cannot be better people by our own accords. It’s simply not possible. We can try, and try, and try, but no matter how hard we try, we will fail. We are imperfect creatures, living in an imperfect world, serving a perfect God. Of course we can’t do it on our own. However, when we allow Him to draw near to us we see His power and His strength is enough to overpower anything we’ve brought on ourselves. Just as Eustace couldn’t get the bracelet off himself in order to become a boy again, we cannot undo the sin we’ve done to make us better people. We have to allow God to draw near to us, and lift us out of our sin. When we do that, it’s going to hurt. Nowhere in the Bible does God tell us that following Him, allowing Him to make us better people, would be an easy and pain free task. But He did promise that it would be worth it. That the pain we felt would be temporary and not permanent.
Just as Aslan didn’t come for Lucy, Edmund, and Prince Caspian in Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Christ didn’t come to help those who already believed in Him (although just like Aslan, Christ does help those). Christ came to help those who didn’t know Him, who needed Him, those who were looked down upon and cast aside by society. Eustace didn’t know Aslan and didn’t believe in Him that is who Aslan came to help. Those who don’t know Christ and don’t believe in Christ, that is why He came. That is why He is always here with us, guiding us, so that through us, His name might be made known.