We recently read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as a summer family read-aloud. Everyone in the family had read it before except my youngest. Although he is reading chapter books, he’s not quite ready to tackle the Chronicles of Narnia on his own. But, with two older sisters who love Narnia, we knew it was time to introduce him!
There is so much incredible spiritual imagery in the Narnia series, and it was beautiful to see truths light up in my son’s eyes as he listened to my husband read. I especially loved watching his body posture change with the first mentions of Aslan. As Doug read the responses of Edmund, Peter, Susan, and Lucy to the very mention of Aslan’s name, I could literally see the thrill move through my son. And I felt it in myself, too. I’d read the book before, but there was something powerful about hearing it read aloud to me.
The most beautiful thing is that C. S. Lewis did not pull such emotional responses to the unknown out of thin air. The spiritual imagery in the Chronicles of Narnia contemplates what the presence of God and Jesus might look like in another world. So, the responses of the characters is very similar to what you might find in Scripture.
I could use so many passages of Scripture to explore the amazing impact of joy in the unknown, but I will choose Psalm 16. It is the passage that stood out to me most recently.
I will bless the Lord who has counseled me; indeed, my mind instructs me in the night. I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will dwell securely. For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay. You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Psalm 16:7-11 (emphasis mine)
As I read this passage, I realized that David was rejoicing in something he did not understand. You see, the Old Testament does not really teach much about eternity or an afterlife. Yes, there is evidence of it. And yes, teachings of heaven did form among the Jews (leading to one of the major points of disagreement between the Pharisees and Sadducees of the New Testament era). But David really did not have a great deal of context for what came after death.
Even so, a great deal of David’s rejoicing came from the fact that he could trust the Lord with his soul, both in life and in death.
David’s reference to God’s Holy One also stands out. In this, he wrote about the Savior of whom he knew nothing. Essentially, throughout this psalm, David is rejoicing in the unknown. He pens the words, but he does not really know what they mean. He just knows that they awaken an intense flow of praise within him.
When we limit ourselves to rejoicing only in the known, we miss so much. We know so little about God and His incredible kingdom. So very little! May we allow ourselves to be thrilled by the unknown as well. May we respond when those rushes of awe speed through us like lightning. May we worship simply because we know we can trust Him.