Things Never Happen the Same Way Twice
“Things never happen the same way twice,” the Mighty Lion, Aslan tenderly explains to the young faith-filled Lucy, in the film, Prince Caspian, based on one of C.S. Lewis’ books from The Chronicles of Narnia series.
Are you familiar with C.S. Lewis and the Chronicles of Narnia? C.S. Lewis, one of the 20th century’s most important and prolific writers of Christian apologetics, was an adult convert to Christianity. While he had previously authored some works on Christian apologetics and fiction with Christian themes he did not originally set out to incorporate Christian theological concepts into his Narnia stories. He explained that it was something that occurred as he wrote them! (No doubt, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, I would say).
C. S Lewis explains that his character of Aslan, the Great Lion, “is an invention giving an imaginary answer to the question, ‘What might Christ become like if there really were a world like Narnia, and He chose to be incarnate and die and rise again in that world as He actually has done in ours?’ Since Narnia is a world of Talking Beasts, I thought He [Christ] would become a Talking Beast there, as He became a man here. I pictured Him becoming a lion there because (a) the lion is supposed to be the king of beasts; (b) Christ is called “The Lion of Judah” in the Bible; (c) I’d been having strange dreams about lions when I began writing the work. The whole series works out like this: (Again, I might add, without a doubt, C. S Lewis was surely guided by the Holy Spirit).
The Magician’s Nephew – tells the Creation and how evil entered Narnia.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – reveals the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Aslan ( figure of Jesus Christ).
Prince Caspian – shows restoration of the true religion after corruption.
The Horse and His Boy – is about the calling and conversion of a heathen.
The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader“ – is a commentary on the spiritual life.
The Silver Chair – exposes the continuing war with the powers of darkness
The Last Battle – presents the coming of the Antichrist (the Ape), the end of the world and the Last Judgment.”
Last night I watched this film, Prince Caspian. I reflected on the scene where the Great Lion Aslan appears to the young girl, Lucy who still has the pure, simple, innocent, sincere, trusting belief of a child who does not doubt and who loves her Mighty King and precious Friend with all her heart and soul and is intensely seeking Aslan in faith, as she is need of his powerful help to overcome evil. She has had a glimpse of Aslan (who in the previous book had been killed, died and was now resurrected in Glory) with her eyes of faith and knows she has seen him. She has heard Aslan’s call to the four children that they should follow him as he would lead them to safety. Yet, her brothers and sister being older now their faith has weakened, and they have become more self –sufficient in their own minds, relying on their own strength, ideas, and plans. They ask Lucy, why they are unable to see Aslan as she does. And as they cannot see him with their eyes (because of their lack of faith) they choose to distrust and follow their own way not the way of Aslan as shown to Lucy, only to wind up totally lost and in danger! After this, they turn back to Lucy and believe her witness of Aslan, and their faith is renewed and they trust in the unseen Aslan and his love for them and his help them to guide them safely. It is then that Aslan reveals himself to the older children and they “see” him.
Christ Jesus after His Glorious Resurrection no longer walked among His apostles in the flesh, but appeared and manifested Himself to them periodically in His Risen Glorified Body in order to strengthen their faith and teach them over a period of 50 days until His Ascension into Heaven to learn to walk by the Spirit and trust in His unseen Presence. With diminishing post Resurrection appearances Christ Jesus would develop their eyes of faith teaching them to trust that He remains always with them by His Spirit, loving, guiding and protecting them. When Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven He sat down at the right hand of the Father. The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son to all those who believe and are baptized into His Name.
After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, approached, rolled back the stone, and sat upon it. His appearance was like lightning and his clothing was white as snow. The guards were shaken with fear of him and became like dead men. Then the angel said to the women in reply, “Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for He has been raised just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him.’ Behold, I have told you.”
Then they went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did Him homage. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.”
While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had happened. They assembled with the elders and took counsel; then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.’
And if this gets to the ears of the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day.
The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw Him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28)
As I was absorbed in meditating on the deep spiritual meanings in this film, the Holy Spirit refreshed my mind with a beautiful memory of a precious blessing that the Lord Jesus bestowed upon me when I too yearned for Him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength with the simple trusting faith like a child, just as Lucy desired Aslan in Prince Caspian.
On March 1, 2000, I had a mysterious and wondrous encounter with the living Christ which one day I will share in another account. This “meeting” occurred three months after my conversion (of early January 2000) on the evening of the day when I had been “prayed over” by several holy women to receive “Baptism in the Holy Spirit.”
On that night the Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit manifested Himself intimately and unexpectedly by me that evening when I was in my bedroom lying next to my older daughter who was then 5 years old. I was praying to help her fall peacefully asleep. This is a story for another time. Today I will share what the Lord desires I tell you. Exactly, one year to the day, on the one year anniversary of that previous inexpressible mystical encounter with my Lord, on March 1, 2001, I went to my own bedroom after putting my children to bed to pray. I lifted my heart and soul to Jesus with all my strength, and fervor of love hoping and longing to experience my Lords’ intimate Presence in the same way as the prior year, if He would come to me again as He did then. Oh how I wanted to re-experience Him in such an awesome way! I prayed as like a young girl head over heels in love, longing for her lover to come and be with her. I expressed the deepest longings of my heart that evening for such a reunion. But it did not come. I understood as time passed in my prayer that Jesus was not going to reveal Himself in the same way. I accepted this revelation. He blessed me with a deep sense of peace. And before I drifted off to sleep I said to Him in simple childlike faith, with reverent trust, “Lord you are infinite, beyond seeking out, the human mind cannot conceive the greatness of who You are, nor can they imagine what You have in store for those who love You…how unfathomable are the manifold ways in which You may choose to reveal your love and mercies to the ones who love You.”
But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him (First Corinthians 2:9)
Nothing mystical had taken place during the prayer. I knew He was there by pure faith. I fell asleep in the peace of Christ like a little child who falls asleep in the arms of her father. The following morning, my youngest daughter who was 3 1/2 years old at the time, came into my bedroom and climbed on my bed. The first words she spoke to me that morning were, “Mommy, Mommy, I had a dream!” I observed her joyful face and the delight in her voice as she told me this. I asked her quite unassumingly, “What did you dream about, sweetie? She responded with glee, “I dreamt about Jesus!” I looked her over carefully and wondered if it could really be so. She had never told me that she had a dream before, and certainly this was not an ordinary dream to say the least. Until that time, I had never been able to take my children to church because my husband who was an atheist would not permit it. So it seemed quite extraordinary that she should dream about Jesus as she had had such limited exposure to Him and there seemed to be no reason for such a dream ” out of nowhere” so to speak, arising from her own child’s mind with nothing evident from her own experience to provoke such thoughts in her sleep. As I was gazing at her and wondering what to ask her next about her dream, she blurt out, “Jesus gave me bread. But Daddy took it away.” I was astounded by this. As I was formulating how to respond, she continued, “But don’t worry Mommy, Jesus hugged me and He gave it back to me.” I was speechless.
She had no knowledge of the sacrament of Holy Communion. She had never been to church and never witnessed a Mass, and had never received Holy Communion nor had she any teaching on the subject from me or anyone else. I had only been practicing my Christian faith for one year since my conversion and was absorbed in my own spiritual growth and had not ye begun to “train up” my toddlers in the Holy Faith. I was several years away even from entering into full communion with the Catholic Church. I was then a practicing evangelical my first year believing in Jesus. It was not possible that my little daughter who was not yet 4 years old could dream such a profound dream from her own understanding. The dream contained sublime Christian spiritual symbolism and divine revelation, even a prophecy that during the following ten years was revealed in time to be true.
Looking back in hindsight, her dream can be understood in depth. But there is more. In awe and amazement, I asked her a straightforward question, “Leila, did you see Jesus?” At this she leaned her head backwards as if raising her face to Heaven, with her eyes closed tightly as if she was remembering a beautiful vision in her mind’s eye, and raising her little arms out and up into the air with her little fists closed in an action of spontaneous adoration, she replied most sincerely, ” Oh Yes Mommy, He is beautiful and golden and shining like a star!” My breath was taken away at these words as I knew from her life experience to date she could not envision the Risen and Glorified Jesus Christ from her own imagination nor proclaim words of such depth and revelation from her own mind.
Then I turned to see whose Voice it was that spoke to me, and when I turned, I saw … one like a Son of Man, wearing an ankle-length robe, with a gold sash around His chest. The hair of His head was as white as white wool or as snow, and His eyes were like a fiery flame. His feet were like polished brass refined in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of rushing water. In his right hand he held seven stars. A sharp two-edged sword came out of His mouth, and His face shone like the sun at its brightest. When I caught sight of him, I fell down at his feet as though dead. He touched me with his right hand and said, “Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last, the one who lives. Once I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I hold the keys to death and the netherworld. Write down, therefore, what you have seen, and what is happening, and what will happen afterwards. (Revelation 1: 12-19)
In the vision I saw during the night….as I watched, Thrones were set up and the Ancient One took His throne. His clothing was snow bright, and the hair on His head as white as wool; His throne was flames of fire, with wheels of burning fire. A surging stream of fire flowed out from where He sat; Thousands upon thousands were ministering to Him, and myriads upon myriads attended Him. The court was convened, and the books were opened.
I watched, then, from the first of the arrogant words which the horn spoke, until the beast was slain and its body thrown into the fire to be burnt up.
The other beasts, which also lost their dominion, were granted a prolongation of life for a time and a season.
As the visions during the night continued, I saw One like a Son of Man coming, on the clouds of heaven; When He reached the Ancient One and was presented before Him, He received dominion, glory, and kingship; nations and peoples of every language serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away. His kingship shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7: 9- 14)
I knew she had told me the truth. My three year old daughter had been visited by the Lord Jesus and had truly seen the Risen Christ during the night. He had come to my little child in the night instead of to me. Through her, He had come to me in a way that I could never have dreamt, let alone ever thought to ask of Him. “Things never happen the same way twice,” said Aslan to Lucy. Wonderful, Merciful Jesus, in His unfathomable love He received the love from my small heart and heard the yearnings and longings of my soul for intimacy with Him and had responded generously in an unimaginable way through my own daughter, blessing both of us and glorifying His mercy and kindness to His children both young and old. Jesus had revealed to Leila that He is the true Bread of Life and that she should not be afraid of those who in their ignorance would want to keep her from Him. Jesus is always with us, even when He cannot be seen with our eyes. He is with us by His Spirit. He showed Leila that He will comfort her and give Himself to her, as she belongs to Him, as a daughter and heir of the great King, He will return to her what rightfully belongs to her. The arrogant proud will one day be brought low and all peoples and nations from the beginning of time until the last day will acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
Who, though He was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, He emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the Name that is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2: 6-11)