Lucy’s brothers and sisters don’t believe her story about Mr. Tumnus and the land of Narnia. They accuse her of making it all up until one day when they are chased into the Wardrobe. They try to hide there but instead end up in Narnia.
“I’m sitting against a tree,” said Susan, “and look! It’s getting light—over there.” “By Jove, you’re right,” said Peter, “and look there—and there. It’s trees all round. And this wet stuff is snow. Why, I do believe we’ve gotten into Lucy’s wood after all.”
By Jove i.e. By Jupiter. Jupiter is the King who represents gladness and joy and life. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe flows out of the planet Jupiter and what it means (see Planet Narnia).
In the Lion, the children and other characters are already upheld and surrounded by Jove. They may not know it at the contemplative level, but they know it through enjoyment. Their whole experience of the Narnian world is contained in a jovial wardrobe where royal robes hang waiting, and the story’s climax (coronation) is already implicit in its premise. Jupiter comes to the children not simply from outside, but also from inside; from their whole previous history in Narnia as it has been related in this book. The divine character is not a deistic god who has finally decided to do something for his created world; rather he is a theistic god who is always and already involved in its life. Planet Narnia
In other words, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe moves beyond lament and into stunning hope.
Gallup tells us that people need four things from their leaders: Hope, Stability, Trust, and Compassion.
People need a firm foundation on which to live. In a world where there is so much struggle, leaders show compassion by honoring people’s lament (see previous devotional). Their compassion, however, moves them beyond lament into stability. Gently, wisely, graciously, a leader’s compassion moves them to the stability that brushes off profound biblical truth:
- Even though our pain runs deep and the future does not stretch out before us in a way that shines,
- Even though our grief is powerful and our questions are not trivial but fundamental and heart-wrenching,
- Even though all of this is true
- we hold on – we hold on to the promise that our past, our present, and our future are in the hands of the King who does all things well.
How can leaders assure people that he does all things well? Here’s how Isaiah makes it clear— with a bit of interpretation (Isaiah 11):
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him
He will have the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, (He knows how to lead well, following God’s heart)
the Spirit of counsel and of might, (He can execute plans that suppress oppressors and brings justice—especially to the poor and weak)
and the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD— (He is loyal to God).
The leader points out that including “the Spirit of the LORD will rest on him” there are seven things mentioned about this shoot of Jesse, this coming King. The number seven is the number of completeness in the Bible. Isaiah is saying, this King is the fullness of all you desire. He is the King who does all things well as he holds our past, present, and future.
But that’s not all. In Isaiah 5 and 6, we find seven woes. In other words, the people are living ultimately destructive lives, and their lives are wreaking havoc on the world around them. Seven woes, as we read them, show how the shoot of Jesse brings hope:
“Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land.” (Isaiah 5:8)
“Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine.” (Isaiah 5:11)
“Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit, and wickedness as with cart ropes, to those who say, “Let God hurry; let him hasten his work so we may see it. The plan of the Holy One of Israel— let it approach, let it come into view, so we may know it.”
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
“Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.”
“Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks, who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent.” (Isaiah 5:18–23)
“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” (Isaiah 6:5)
Seven woes, seven truths about the King – the complete ruler – show that without him we have a life of woe and we bring destruction to others; with him, our past, present, and future and the past, present, and future of others are in the hands of the King who does all things well: who knows how to lead, who brings justice, who is loyal to the plans and ways of God.
As people lament, as leaders show compassion, they also point to this good news, this stable news—we are in the hands of him who does all things well.
Our life will finally, one day, be a life of joviality.