there was only one lion

“I do think,” said Shasta, “that i must be the most unfortunate
boy in that ever lived in the whole world.  Everything goes right for
everyone except me.  Those Narnian lords and ladies got safe away from
Tashbaan: i was left behind.  Aravis and Bree and Hwin are all as snug
as anything with that old hermit: of course i was the one who was setn
on.  King Lune and his people must have got safely into the castle and
shut the gates long before Rabadash arrived, but i get left out.”
     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 breath 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. 
    “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 sorrow.”
   
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 all
of their dangers in Tashbaan and about his night among the Tombs and
how the beasts howled at him out or 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 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 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 a shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to
receive you.”

— C.S. Lewis, The Horse and His Boy

—————-

Rich read this excerpt on sunday toward the end of the sermon and i recalled several times in
my life when i was dealing with struggles, confusion, frustration,
disappointment, sadness and questions.  and this section of the story
reminded me that God was still very present and active during all of
those times, even when i couldn’t see him or didn’t understand why
everything around me felt so “unlucky.”  through all of those times, God never left my side.  even more so – he was acting on my
behalf, orchestrating events and people around me for my good and to bring me
precisely to where he wanted me to be.  what often might have appeared to be
really awful, was God moving.

“i was the lion.” 

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