Put in story form that a child can understand:
Then Aslan turned to them and said: “You do not yet look as happy as I mean you to be.” Lucy said, “we’re so afraid of being sent away, Aslan.” “No fear of that,” said Aslan. “Have you not guessed?” Their hearts leaped and a wild hope rose within them.
“There was a railway accident “ said Aslan softly. “…All of you are – as you used to call it in the Shadowlands – dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”
And as he spoke he no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them… But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and title page: now at last they were beginning chapter One of the great story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
– C.S.Lewis, The Last Battle, p. 165.
Father of spirits, looking to Jesus,
the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,
we lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,
that we may run with perseverance the race that is set before us.
Few, they tell us, finish well…
Lord, let us get home before dark.
Before the darkness of staining your honor,
shaming your name, and grieving your loving heart.
Before the darkness of a spirit grown mean and small,
fruit shriveled on the vine, bitter to the taste of our companions,
burden to be borne by those brave few who love us still.
Before the darkness of tattered gifts,
rust-locked, half-spent or ill-spent,
A life that once was used of God now set aside.
Grief for glories gone or fretting for a task God never gave.
Mourning in the hollow chambers of memory,
Gazing on the faded banners of victories long gone.
Cannot we run well to the end? Let us get home before dark.
- Adapted from Robertson McQuilkin’s Prayer
“Let Me Get Home Before Dark”
Believer, stop here, and think awhile.
Is it a small thing in your eyes to be beloved of God;
to be the son, the spouse, the love,
and the delight of the King of glory?
Christian, believe this, and think on it.
You shall be eternally embraced in the arms
of that love which was from everlasting,
and will extend to everlasting:
of that love,
which brought the Son of God’s love from heaven to earth,
from earth to the cross, from the cross to the grave,
from the grave to glory:
that love which was weary, hungry, tempted, scorned,
scourged, buffeted,spit upon, crucified, pierced;
which did fast, pray, teach, heal, weep, sweat, bleed, die:
that love will eternally embrace you.
– Richard Baxter, The Saint’s Everlasting Rest
“She brought forth… she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes” (Luke 2:7).
It is indeed very beautiful, but oh the pity of it, the tragedy of it, the loneliness of it, that in that hour of all hours, when womanhood should be surrounded by the tenderest care, she is alone. G. Campbell Morgan
Let us marvel at the humble, faithful servant that is the teenager mother of our Lord and worship our great God who strengthens and equips people like Mary and us to serve His great purpose and to fulfill His will, especially amidst very challenging circumstances.
Years ago, my grandfather-in-law, Pete Austin, gave me this prayer/poem from Henry van Dyke that he cherished and memorized. I came across it today in my studies. It encouraged and challenged my heart again and I hope it will do the same for you:
“These are the gifts I ask
Of thee, Spirit serene:
Strength for the daily task,
Courage to face the road,
Good cheer to help me bear the traveler’s load,
And, for the hours of rest that come between,
An inward joy in all things heard and seen.
These are the sins I fain
Would have thee take away:
Malice, and cold disdain,
Hot anger, sullen hate,
Scorn of the lowly, envy of the great,
And discontent that casts a shadow gray
On all the brightness of the common day.”
In corporate worship, we invest time in prayer. We do this because God commands us to seek Him in prayer. Prayer also serves as one of the main ways that we exercise our faith in His promises as well as an antidote for our anxious hearts (Luke 18:1; Philippians 4:6-7).
Prayer is hard work and all of us struggle to pray well. Therefore, we constantly need our Lord’s guidance. This is why we regularly use the Lord’s Prayer as a pattern for our own praying. According to His prayer, evil exists in the world and has its origin in the Evil One. All of us are prone to succumb to the devil’s agenda which is to profane God’s name, oppose God’s kingdom, resist God’s will, fail to forgive those who sin against us, and to fail to resist temptation.
On the contrary, Jesus’ prayer helps us to refocus on the Lord: His praise, His program, His plan, His provision, His pardon, and His protection. Today when you pray, remember that you are participating with our Lord in His uprising against the disorder of your hearts and your world. Ask Him to strengthen your capacity to trust Him for He has promised to rescue you from this perilous life on earth and bring you safely home to heaven.
When he received the Templeton Prize in Religion in 1981,
Alexandr Solzhenitsyn explained concisely the demise of Russia and the extermination of 60 million of her citizens:
“Over half a century ago, while I was still a child,
I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia:
‘Men have forgotten God;
that’s why all this has happened.’
Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years
working on the history of our revolution;
in the process I have read hundreds of books,
collected hundreds of personal testimonies,
and have already contributed eight volumes of my own
toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by the upheaval.
But if I were asked today to formulate
as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution
that swallowed up some sixty million of our people,
I could not put it more accurately that to repeat:
‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this happened.’”
Let us pray for our nation and all nations:
That the Lord’s people, who are called by [His] name,
would “humble themselves, and pray and seek [His] face
and turn from their wicked ways,
then [He] will hear from heaven
and will forgive their sin
and heal their land.
(Quoted by Cal Thomas, in The Death of Ethics in America, p.27).