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  • Writer's pictureKara Chatham

Childhood Connections


This week at Engage – the college group I am a part of – the message was about Luke 18:10-14

Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.

ESV

This is one of the many stories Jesus shares. He is comparing and contrasting two different types of people. Those who compare themselves to others and forget about the grace of God and those who are one hundred percent aware of the grace of God.

As Will was talking about all of this, a quote came to mind. One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books.

Do not dare not to dare.

Aslan, The Horse and His Boy

The quote has stuck with me since childhood and it serves as a reminder of many things. What is cool, to me, is how the quote has come to mean many things and become more special to me as I have gotten older. Within the context of the story, this is the part of the story where Aslan has revealed himself to Bree, Hwin, and Aravis while they are at the Hermit’s.

The quote itself is Aslan talking to Bree, encouraging him to come closer and to not be afraid. Sometimes I have this fear about approaching God. I forget that He is available at all times and that He wants me to come and talk to Him. This is what this quote reminds me of – that I can approach God, that He wants me to come to Him with everything.

The connection I made between this novel and the parable that was being discussed is what follows the quote I cherish so much.

“Aslan,” said Bree in a shaken voice, “I’m afraid I must be rather a fool.”

“Happy the Horse who knows that while he is still young. Or the Human either….

The Horse and His Boy

This part reminds me of how Will was talking about how the Tax Collector approached God. Here Bree is completely humbling himself before Aslan – admitting that he has been rather foolish about everything. Earlier in the novel the Hermit points out how Bree had been comparing himself to the dumber horses that he had been surrounded with, therefore he had this delusion of who he is – this plays into the humbling of this war horse. So really, Bree transitions from being a Pharisee to being a Tax Collector in the sense of the parable. The Pharisee is comparing himself to everyone else and completely disregarding the grace of God. The Tax Collector is completely aware of the grace of God and humbly asks for it. The “Happy the Horse” part of the story reminds me of verse 14.

…For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.

ESV

As I was rereading this part of the novel for this post, I noticed something that Aslan says that sparked another idea.

I am the only lion you met in all your journeyings.

Aslan, The Horse and His Boy

If Aslan was the only lion they ever encountered… What if God is the only one we encounter on our journeyings? God is in complete control. He is aware of all the “good” and “bad” that we encounter. What if that is all there for His glory? There is purpose behind all that happens. We may not know or understand it, but that does not mean that it does not exist. In the novel, Aslan tells Aravis the purpose behind why he tore into her back.

The better question to ask is how do we respond to the things that happen? This connects back to the parable Will spoke on the week before – the Blind Man, John 9. One of the points that Will made was that sometimes things happen so “that the works of God might be displayed”. In the story of the Blind Man, the man was born blind. The disciples asked Jesus who was to blame for this man’s blindness. The reality of it was that it was not anyone’s fault; the blindness was there to display the glory of God.Bottom line: there is purpose behind it all.

I hope all of that made sense. Personally, I think it is really cool how this novel that I loved as a child is becoming more and more special and meaningful to me as an adult. I guess it is proof that you never really grow out of stories and that the best stories stick with you forever.

Until next time… Kara


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