Spiritual Wisdom from Lewis's "The Horse & His Boy"

Our oldest son and I have been reading aloud through the Narnia books (in the original order, of course, no matter how they print it these days!), and I've come across a few quotes that are particularly challenging & thought-provoking. So, I thought I'd share them with you.

The first has something to teach us about hard work & perseverance... The two humans and the two horses are riding fast to warn a King of some evil that is about to come his way... galloping fast, but not really fast enough:
"Certainly both horses were doing, if not all they could; all they thought they could, which is not quite the same thing."

It makes me wonder how often *I* think I'm "doing all I can" and if there might be points on which I sell myself short and could be doing more if I was really working all things as unto the Lord (Colossians) and not growing weary in well-doing (Galatians).

And then here's another quote worth hearing- it tells us something maturity and the constant sanctification and growth in the Christian life. After running hard for miles to beat their enemies to a city to warn of attack, nearly watching his companions be killed, and facing a lion, Shasta (one of the human main characters) realizes that he still has not reached their destination, and is faced with yet another job, assigned by an old man he encounters on the way:
"Now, my son waste no time on questions, but obey. This damsel is wounded. Your horses are spent. Rabadash [the enemy he's trying to outrun to the city] is at this moment finding a ford over the [river]. If you run now, without a moment's rest, you will still be in time to warn King Lune."

Shasta's heart fainted at these words for he felt he had no strength left. And he writhed inside at what seemed the cruelty and unfairness of the demand. He had not yet learned that if you do one good deed your reward usually is to be set to do another harder and better one. But all he said out loud was, "Where is the King?"
It's true, isn't it? My heart cries out "unfair!" when more work is heaped onto my already full plate. I don't see it as a reward. Bitterness rises.

Or even worse-- when I think I've 'hit' whatever mark/destination I was aiming for, but then I'm asked to go even further. Perhaps there is more learning to do... perhaps the destination changes entirely... perhaps the initial pain/sacrifice was only the down payment on the lessons God has in store to teach you through suffering... regardless, when you think you've spent everything you have, reaching a certain place, and then you're asked to go even farther... goodness, that's tough.

This process of being sanctified to be more like Christ-- I've said it before, and I'll say it again-- it's not for the faint of heart.

18 comments:

Serena said...

The Horse and His Boy is my favorite of The Chronicles of Narnia (not that anyone could tell from the name of my blog or anything). I love all of those quotes. So simply put, and oh-so painfully true.

Brent and Noele said...

How is it that you always seem to post on something that speaks so much into my life?? And, to boot, this time from a Narnia book--my favorites!

Rachel said...

Amen.

Holli T. said...

Great quote choices. I need to reread these... and learn the lessons!

Holli T.

Christine said...

I have found so many nuggets in this one too, most notably Aslan's conversation with Shasta where Shasta asks him why He did something to Aravis. Aslan answers, "Child, I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own." Amazing wisdom. I'm always wanting to know about others' stories in a nosy way, but our job is only to trust God with our story and not be concerned with others'.

Love that! Thanks for posting your "a-ha" moments!

Jessica said...

I've just started reading your blog and wanted to thank you so much for sharing this. I've been in this place of weariness/pity party off an on during my fourth pregnancy. So I'm putting together a little file of truth that I need to remind myself. This helped a ton! Thanks.

Betsy Smith said...

I am gonna be thinking on this all day!

Ruth said...

Jess,
That is such rich insight. I had my fourth baby last November, and sometimes feel stretched beyond what I think I can handle. The Lord has been reminding me that He has not asked me to handle it all. He simply wants me to be His empty and available vessel through which He raises the children. When I get overwhelmed I try to take one moment at a time praying for patience and gentleness. Thanks for your blog;it has been a blessing to me. I've been reading it now for around a year.

Ruth from Texas

Tami said...

Great post!! I've recently found your blog through a friends referal.

The Horse and His Boy is my favorite "Narnia" book. There are so many lessons to be learned. This, I think for many of us stay at home moms, and probably more so for you homeschool moms, is a great reminder to see the tasks that the Lord gives us as blessings. Our children see our responses to our "work" that we do at home. I know for myself, the Holy Spirit has convicted me several times on how my attitude was and how I need to do everything whole heartedly as unto the Lord. I don't want to raise children who grumble all the time!

Thanks for taking the time to write as the Holy Spirit leads!

Sandi said...

Great quotes to ponder.
I fear I have lately grown weary in doing good as I school and run my home with a four month old baby. Going from two to three has been a bit of an adjustment even though my kids are a bit older.

Hannah. said...

I recently read The Horse and His Boy to my seven-year-old and six-year-old sons. I could hardly keep from interrupting the story to explain theology to them constantly. That book is so full of truth, and the quotes you pulled out haunt me, even as I contemplate the road the Lord has laid out for me...Wow.

madgebaby said...

I just wish Lewis didn't fall so easily into racist and sexist stereotypes in this series. I'm reading them, and just when I feel a profound sense of gratitude for his spiritual wisdom I'm sucker-punched by one. It's pervasive in his writings, was clearly a blind spot, and it's really too bad.

cornhusker said...

Wow - the first quote is very convicting. I often make the excuse that I'm still getting used to home schooling, & having 2 children even though we adopted our son 6 months ago! I certainly don't do all I could do. I think I'll put that quote by my computer. Thanks so much for always making me think!

Amy

Leanne said...

Awesome insight - and as an English geek, let me just say this:
THANK YOU for reading these books to your kids in the PROPER order - the order that C.S. Lewis intended for them to be written!!!!!!

That is all :o).

Mrs. Anna T said...

I just love the Narnia books. So does my husband. There's so much hidden wisdom in these fascinating stories. I do hope little Shira gets to enjoy them when she's a bit older.

Best Life said...

The Lord gave CS Lewis a wonderful gift. I, too, love the analogies that I can apply to my life. My favorite is "The Last Battle". We have read these through many times with our kids and look forward to reading them again when the little ones are older. I'm so glad you're enjoying them. Lisa~

Mrs. Santos said...

Great post! one little victory and I think the struggle is over...but then there is another battle...thank you for the encouragement.

Mrs. Santos

Mom said...

That was excellent! Amen!