“My own plans are made. While I can, I sail east in the Dawn Treader. When she fails me, I paddle east in my coracle. When she sinks, I shall swim east with my four paws. And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan’s country, or shot over the edge of the world into some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise.” – Reepicheep, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Chronicles of Narnia
For those of you that know me personally, I am a huge Chronicles of Narnia fan. Always have been, and always will be. I grew up reading the books and at night I would listen to the audio tapes before falling asleep. As a kid, I loved the adventure and the fantasy that it entailed, but now as I have gotten older, I have come to love and appreciate the depth and imagination of the story, and how it so beautifully depicts our lives, and the purpose of why we are here.
It is no surprise to me that God loves to speak to me in metaphors and imagery, as that is what I love and understand. And even further, it is no surprise that He speaks to me through Narnia and C.S. Lewis’ interpretation of who God is. Recently, God has really been highlighting to me the Kingdom – His Kingdom. Everything we do on earth is for Him, so that people can know Him and as a result – by His grace – spend an eternity with Him in His Kingdom if we choose to have faith.
My mind has been focused on a lot of things lately (things that God truly does care about) but God told me take a step back and look at the big picture: how am I living my life? Am I living for myself and that which is temporary, or am I fixating my eyes on the beauty of God which is eternal?
And then He brought in Narnia, specifically the character Reepicheep. To paint you a picture, there is a constant battle in the books between Narnians and other creatures/people, and everyone is deciding who they fight for: Aslan or those against Aslan. Amongst the soldiers fighting with Aslan is Reepicheep, a brave, strong, noble …. mouse.
The smallest of creatures, he is underestimated due to his size. How can a mouse be a strong warrior? You would think that with everyone laughing and speaking to him condescendingly, that he would become discouraged and be unwilling to fight. But that is not who Reepicheep is. From the beginning, he is a character that is confident in his ability to draw a sword and firmly believes in Aslan (God). He keeps his eyes fixed on that which he puts his faith in. He is a loyal follower of Aslan, the Great Lion, and despite others’ unbelief in Aslan or in Reepicheep himself, Reepicheep constantly pursues the promise of Aslan that one day, the battle will be won and he can go to Aslan’s Country: a country with lush trees, roaring rivers, and mountains for miles … a majestic Kingdom.
One thing you learn about Reepicheep as you continue to read the novels, is the pride that he takes in his sword. His sword craftsmanship is the one thing he loves and lives for, apart from Aslan. We all have things in our life that we love and live for, apart from God, and that is not a bad thing (in fact, God loves to bless us with desires and gifts), as long as it does not distract you from the reason you have it – to serve Christ. Aslan blessed Reepicheep with the ability to fight, so that Reepicheep could fight for Him. In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the Pevensie children are sailing to the end of the world, Reepicheep in tow, to find Aslan’s country. After a lot of adventure, mishaps, confusion, and danger, they finally make it.
And this is the part that hit me. His whole life, Reepicheep fought for Aslan, with the sole desire to one day get to see Aslan’s Country. The Pevensie children are in a boat with Reepicheep, the waters covered in beautiful lilies. They are getting close. The boat starts to drag against the bottom, and at this moment, Reepicheep knows it is time to go. Up ahead, there is a massive wave that towers over whatever lies beyond. Reepicheep lowers his coracle, grabs his sword (the thing he held most dear in his life), and throws it into the lilies saying, “I shall need it no more.” He then says goodbye to Lucy and Edmund, in which he tries to feel sad, but nothing can contain his excitement in preparing to head into Aslan’s Country. He gets inside his little boat, and starts paddling towards the wave, toward a place he has never been to, but desired to his whole life. And in a moment, he was over the wave.
This is what we should be like. The desire to know God and see His beauty should outweigh anything else, including what God has given us. Reepicheep took great pride in his sword and fought valiantly his whole life, but the second he was faced with the choice to see Aslan, he tossed it aside like it meant nothing to him. And he felt great joy in it, because He understood that the beauty and joy he would experience with Aslan in His Country was far greater than anything he would experience in Narnia.
Do I understand the beauty of God? Do I fully grasp the gift it is to spend an eternity with our Creator? Do my actions on earth reflect a life devoted to my King? I have to say, I am still learning and God’s grace is very evident in it. But I hold onto the promise of God that He is always good, and anything that I experience of God in this world is just a glimmer of what it will be like to stand before Him in His Kingdom. Can you see it?
“I find in myself a desire in which no experience in this world can satisfy. The most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” -C.S. Lewis