Summary: Aslan presents a picture of Christ the conqueror, and we have victory through His power.
My cousin Stacy and her husband, Aaron, have a two-year-old son named Cameron. This past Halloween, Cameron dressed up as Spiderman. But when he tried to climb the walls and wasn’t able to, he was frustrated and disappointed. His parents had to explain to him that he was dressed up as Spiderman, but he wasn’t really Spiderman. He might look like a superhero on the outside, but inside, his veins carried no trace of a radioactive spider bite.
Like Cameron, we all have these defining moments in life when we discover how powerless we really are, when we learn the hard way that we’re really not in control, that we can’t do all the things we thought we could. Powerless.
You find a short note on the table from your wife, and your whole life is pulled out from under you. “But I thought she was happy with our marriage.” The doctor calls you into her office to discuss your test results, and she’s not smiling. “But my family has no history of cancer.” You open your mailbox and pull out three envelopes with “Final Notice” in bold black letters at the top, and you know your checkbook is even worse off than it was when the first notice came. “But I thought I could catch up with all these bills.” With deep shame and self-hatred you light your first cigarette in two weeks, and realize that you have failed to quit for the fourth time. It’s that feeling when you’re standing in the funeral home looking down at the open casket, and it suddenly dawns on you: he really is gone. Your hand trembles as it guides the mouse and takes you to a website you vowed you’d never go to again. It’s like those days at the beach as a kid, when you were in the nice cool water having a great time, and suddenly the wave dragged you down, smashing you into the rough wet sand and filling your lungs with nasty salt water instead of the oxygen they crave. You wake up every morning and don’t feel like getting out of bed, because yesterday was just like the day before, and today will be no different. Life is not turning out to be what you’d hoped it was. You keep doing the same things every day; all the excitement is gone, the hopeful expectation is gone, and you’re not even sure why you should go through the motions another day when it never seems to make a difference or get you anywhere. It’s like when you’re two years old and your costume isn’t working, and with shock and grief you hear your mom explaining that you’re not really Spiderman. Powerless.
Anyone who watched TV on September 11, 2001 knows what it feels like to be powerless. If you turned on the news in the aftermath of Katrina and saw the devastation of nature’s fury, you understand. Powerless. Helpless. Utterly unable to do one single thing to change the situation.
If that is powerlessness, what is power? If you look it up, you’ll find that it means something like: ability or capacity to do something; strength, control and influence; authority to act; persuasiveness, skill.
When I was young enough to still believe, like Cameron, that I could be a superhero when I grew up, I heard a story about power. Real power. It was a winter night in Silver Spring when I went to church for RAs, which is a ministry for elementary-age boys. That night our leader told us that he was going to read us a story, one which would take several weeks of RAs to finish. He pulled out a little paperback called The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and began reading. For the next several weeks I was entranced as I lived the story in my imagination. My thoughts were filled with it and every week I eagerly looked forward to Wednesday night. You might have read the book, which has captured the hearts and imagination of children—little ones and grown up ones—for over fifty years. You might have seen the movie version of the story, which came out in theaters this weekend. But just in case you’re unfamiliar with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, let me spoil it for you and give you a quick rundown.
The story begins with four children in England during World War II. The Germans were bombing London, so Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are sent away to stay with an old professor who lives way out in the country. It’s a huge house, and on a dull rainy day the kids go exploring and find a room with an old wardrobe in it. The youngest one, Lucy, hides in it when the kids are playing, and as she feels her way through the dark wardrobe, she passes through several fur coats before stumbling out into a snowy forest with a lamppost glowing in it. And the kids’ adventures in Narnia begin.