Through It All His Word Is Sure: 10 Insights from C.S. Lewis in The Silver Chair

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Where do we turn when we wobble, fall, and crash in the Christian life? Is God’s word sure enough to be our guide even then? Is his word trustworthy in the midst of all struggle and chaos?

C.S. Lewis, in his forth novel in The Chronicles of Narnia series, The Silver Chair, uses the story to illustrate that God’s word is always true, even and especially when we ourselves are wandering away from him. In the story and through the character of Aslan, Lewis illustrates how God and his word are always trustworthy. Although we might slip, his word is faithful still.

In this forth post in my “Seeking in Narnia” series, we will see ten insights from C.S. Lewis’ in The Silver Chair. For those of you who enjoy seeing a sort of table of contents, here are the ten insights which will be extrapolated below.

1. God Isn’t a God of Enchantments—He Alone is In Control
2. Come Drink, because There is No Other Stream to Satisfy Thirst
3. God is the One Who Calls—Even Behind Our Calling
4. Not Forgetting God’s Word Takes Effort in the Thick Air of the World
5. Comforts of this Life Can Make Us Forget and Dislike the Word
6. Trust in God’s Word, Even When Things Look Grim or Confusing
7. There are No Accidents with God
8. Pleasure, Clouding, and Skepticism Are Used by the Darkness to Make You Disbelieve
9. God Cries Precious Tears at Death, but He Resurrects His Own to New Life because of His Shed Blood
10. God’s Word is Reliable In the Midst of Mistakes, Confusion, and Deception

1. God Isn’t a God of Enchantments—He Alone is In Control

We begin in the first ten pages of the novel. After Eustace tells Jill a little bit about Narnia, they both long to go there. But Eustace rightly points out that you can’t just decide to enter Narnia Jill asks, “How did you get there?” and Eustace responds, “The only way you can—by Magic” (7).

They then continue to think about how they can summon this Magic. Eustace hints that he’s wondering if there is some way they could help make it happen. And then this dialgous insues, which Lewis uses to teach us an important truth about God:

“Do you mean, do something to make it happen?” Eustace nodded. “You mean we might draw a circle on the ground—and write things in queer letters in it—and stand inside—and recite charms and spells?” “Well,” said Eustace after he had thought hard for a bit. “I believe that was the sort of thing I was thinking of, though I never did it. But now that it comes to the point, I've an idea that all those circles and things are rather rot. I don't think he'd like them. It would look as if we thought we could make him do things. But really, we can only ask him.” “Who is this person you keep on talking about?” “They call him Aslan in that place,” said Eustace. (8-9)

Eustace properly points out that he doesn’t think Aslan would like all that. This is true, but what makes this especially apt is how his reasoning is spot on: “It would look like we thought we could make him do things.” Instead of this, Aslan would simply want them to ask. God is a God of relationship, a God of communication, a God of asking.

This is profound of Lewis. Not only does Lewis teach rightly that God is not about enchantments and spells but rather about relationship and asking, but Lewis rightly shows why this is the case. Other gods in other religions are worshiped so that they can be controlled: give to the rain god so that it rains; sacrifice your all to the god of success so that you can have money and power. But the living God is not like this. He isn’t a cosmic vending machine. He can’t be controlled; he alone sovereignly controls.

People throughout all ages have made up gods who just tell them a list of things to do, or rituals to do in order to gain some benefit. And there is a reason why this is the case. It all stems from the innate human desire for control. It’s comforting to think that if I do A then the god must do B. But the living God isn't like this. He is greater than this. He is a God of relationship, communication, hearing, and answering. He is not manipulated. But the good news is that he does in fact hear. As illustrated later in the story, since he hears he orders Eustace and Jill’s situation so that they do in fact get back into Narnia.

Lewis’ point? Don’t try to manipulate God. He doesn’t like this, and it only shows our desire to control. Unlike other gods who can be manipulated, “Our God is in the heavens, he does whatever he pleases” (Psalm 115:3). Instead, speak to him. Ask him. He loves this. He hears and answers.

2. Come Drink, Because There is No Other Stream to Satisfy Thirst

After Eustace and Jill become separated, Jill finds herself in an unknown area. Then after she stopped crying for fear, she finds that she is “dreadfully thirsty” (19). She sits up, hears running water, locates the stream, but discovers that there is a fearful lion near it. After debating whether to run or try to wait for the lion to move, to her surprise the lion speaks to her:

"If you're thirsty, you may drink." They were the first words she had heard since Scrubb had spoken to her on the edge of the cliff...It did not make her any less frightened than she had been before, but it made her frightened in rather a different way. “Are you not thirsty?’ said the Lion. “I'm dying of thirst," said Jill. "Then drink," said the Lion. "May I—could I—would you mind going away while I do?" said Jill. The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl. And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience. The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic. "Will you promise not to—do anything to me, if I do come?" said Jill. "I make no promise," said the Lion. Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer. "Do you eat girls?" she said. "I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms," said the Lion. It didn't say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry. It just said it. "I daren't come and drink," said Jill. "Then you will die of thirst," said the Lion. "Oh dear!" said Jill, coming another step nearer. "I suppose I must go and look for another stream then." "There is no other stream," said the Lion. (22-23)

Lewis’ illustration is crystal clear: There is no other stream to satisfy human thirst. Although it might be difficult or frightening to approach God—the all-powerful one who alone has sovereign control over us—it is rewarding, it is worth it, it is the only way to truly be satisfied. If we don’t, we will literally die of thirst.

Jesus invited and still invites all thirsty human souls: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37). He alone is the fountain of living and running water (John 4:10-14). And for those who come to him, they will forever freely drink from the “spring of the water of life” (Revelation 21:6; Isaiah 55:1).

As Aslan invited parched Jill, so Jesus beckons every languishing person looking for satisfaction in things which will not satisfy (Isaiah 55:2). There is no other stream. So come and drink.

3. God is the One Who Calls—Even Behind Our Calling

After Jill drinks, Aslan reveals to her that he has a task for Eustace and her. He says it is “the task for which I called you and him here out of your own world” (24). Jill is confused about this because in her mind Eustace and her were the ones who called for Aslan. Here’s the narration:

"Please, what task, Sir?" said Jill. "The task for which I called you and him here out of your own world." This puzzled Jill very much. "It's mistaking me for someone else," she thought. She didn't dare to tell the Lion this, though she felt things would get into a dreadful muddle unless she did. "Speak your thought, Human Child," said the Lion. "I was wondering—I mean—could there be some mistake? Because nobody called me and Scrubb, you know. It was we who asked to come here. Scrubb said we were to call to—to Somebody—it was a name I wouldn't know—and perhaps the Somebody would let us in. And we did, and then we found the door open." "You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you," said the Lion. "Then you are Somebody, Sir?" said Jill. "I am. And now hear your task. (24-25)

Jill and Eustace called to Aslan, right? Yes, they did. But as he makes clear, “You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you.” This means that as Eustace and Jill earlier were conversing and wondering how to magically reenter Narnia, Aslan was already at work. He was already calling. Their calling was the fruit of his calling.

This is a weighty and comforting biblical point. Those who “call on the name of the Lord” are even more ultimately “those whom the Lord calls” (Joel 2:32). We call upon Christ as our Savior only because we already have been called by God (1 Corinthians 1:23-24).

This was weighty when it struck Jill because she was taken back by the fact that Aslan somehow was calling them even from the other world. It makes her realize that he truly is “Somebody”. As he replies, he is the “I am.” But just as it was weighty, it also was comforting to Jill because it showed that she was not there by accident. He had called her for a purpose. She wasn’t lost. She was exactly where she was supposed to be.

So for us, our calling by God is a weighty and comforting thing. It shows us that he is sovereign over all—including our faith and calling upon him. He alone is the I Am. But it also is comforting because this means that we are the Shepherd’s sheep, and we always have been. Jesus has forever past had a specific flock. They hear his voice, follow him, and are forever secure in his hands (John 10:26-28).

(As a side note here, I know C.S. Lewis was not a believer in what I have just stated above, which is the biblical doctrine which has come to be known as effectual calling. Lewis probably meant Aslan’s statement as more of a statement of prevenient grace. Meaning, God calls people to a certain degree, but then at some point it is up to us to choose to call back. Nevertheless, I will interpret Aslan’s statement with more clear biblical interpretation than I believe Lewis had with the belief of prevenient grace. In the Bible, as shown above, there is a flock before their belief [John 10:26], there are “the called” [1 Corinthians 1:23-24]. And the only reason you call upon God is because you were forever, uniquely called [Joel 2:32]. This is the doctrine of the effectual call. The opposite Arminian doctrine of prevenient grace is more of an idea founded upon the unbiblical notion of free will. It has little to no biblical support.)

4. Not Forgetting God’s Word Takes Effort in the Thick Air of the World

In order to accomplish her task, Aslan gives Jill four signs to remember and keep on repeating. Throughout the book, these signs point Jill and Eustace in the right direction as they are trying to find the Prince. But when Aslan first gives them to Jill, he warns her that it will get hard to remember his word when the task begins. Aslan explains,

“Remember, remember, remember the signs. Say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever strange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs. And secondly, I give you a warning. Here on the mountain I have spoken to you clearly: I will not often do so down in Narnia. Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind.” (27)

In Aslan’s presence, with his firm yet loving commanding, it seems easy to Jill to remember the signs and continually repeat them. But down below, the air is thicker. It affects the mind. It makes things fuzzy. It makes it hard to remember and recall.

We’ll see next in insight #5 how this played out for Jill and Eustace. But this application is true of God and his word. As Jesus taught clearly in the Parable of the Sower, many hear the word initially, but then do not last because of trials or because of the cares of the world (Mark 4:17-19). As Lewis would say, they get caught up in the ‘thickness’ of the world, forgetting the word. And then the word doesn’t produce fruit.

5. Comforts of this Life Can Make Us Forget and Dislike the Word

Did Jill and Eustace remember and recall the signs as Aslan asked them too? Or did they get caught up in the thickness of the world? Well, a little bit of both. On the one hand, there are two times in particular where they let the thickness of the world get the best of them. But in the end, through Aslan’s faithfulness toward them, and often through Puddleglum’s reminders, they were able to rescue the Prince using the signs.

Comforts Make them Forget the Word

How does this thickening happen for them? First, the cares and the pleasures of worldly comforts cloud them and make them forget the word. It starts when they meet a Lady in the woods who tells them about the comforts that await them in the Giant city Harfang (which we’ll talk about more in insight #8). She explains that they’ll have abundant food and nice beds. And once Jill and Eustace hear this, they fixate on it and look forward to it so much that they forget Aslan’s signs. Here’s Lewis’ narration:

Whatever the Lady had intended by telling them about Harfang, the actual effect on the children was a bad one. They could think about nothing but beds and baths and hot meals and how lovely it would be to get indoors. They never talked about Aslan, or even about the lost prince, now. And Jill gave up her habit of repeating the signs over to herself every night and morning. She said to herself, at first, that she was too tired, but she soon forgot all about it. (92-93)

Their bodily comforts took over. Lewis points out that at first, she just said she was too tired. But this slipperly slope then led her to forgetting them altogether. This is the power of simple worldly comforts.

Comforts Make them Dislike the Word

But it doesn’t stop there. It gets worse for them. They at first just forget the word, but then the cares and comforts lead them to have disdain for the word. With their hope of happiness set on Harfang, Eustace and Jill both start to dislike Aslan’s task and signs. Puddleglum alone is able to remind them of their path and purpose. He asks,

"Are you still sure of those signs, Pole? What's the one we ought to be after, now?" "Oh, come on! Bother the signs," said Pole. "Something about someone mentioning Aslan's name, I think. But I'm jolly well not going to give a recitation here."... This annoyance added to the misery of being very cold and tired, made her say, “Bother the signs.” She didn’t perhaps quite mean it. (101).

Then they spot Harfang, it this disdain comes to a climax:

"Harfang!" exclaimed Scrubb. "That's all very well," said Puddleglum. "But what I was saying was——" "Oh, shut up," said Jill crossly. "We haven't a moment to lose. Don't you remember what the Lady said about their locking up so early? We must get there in time, we must, we must. We'll die if we're shut out on a night like this." "Well, it isn't exactly a night, not yet," began Puddleglum; but the two children both said, "Come on," and began stumbling forward on the slippery tableland as quickly as their legs would carry them. The Marsh-wiggle followed them: still talking, but now that they were forcing their way into the wind again, they could not have heard him even if they had wanted to. And they didn't want. They were thinking of baths and beds and hot drinks; and the idea of coming to Harfang too late and being shut out was almost unbearable. (102-103)

This is the climax of their being choked by the cares and comforts of this life. Now they haven’t just forgotten the signs, but they don’t want to hear them. As Lewis says so aptly, “They could not have heard him even if they wanted to. And they didn’t want. They were thinking of baths and beds and hot drinks.” It wasn’t a matter of forgetting in the head now, but of hating in the heart.

This recalls what Jesus said in that aforementioned Parable of the Sower concerning those who fell among the thorns. These don’t make it because they are choked up by comforts and cares of this life. Jesus said, “As for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature” (Luke 8:14).

Now, in Jill and Eustace’s case, by the faithfulness of Aslan, they are able to not fully fall lose their task. They don’t fully fall away. They recall the signs—though stumbling as they do so—and finish their task. But as Jesus makes clear in his parable, many do not endure to the end and truly do fall away because of such worldly cares and comforts.

So, as Jesus said in a similar place elsewhere, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). Why? Your very trust in God is at stake.

6. Trust in God’s Word, Even When Things Look Grim or Confusing

Although Jill and Eustace have these serious moments of forgetting and disliking Aslan’s task and signs, they also are accompanied by Puddleglum. And it is Puddleglum who Lewis uses to show glimpses of overarching trust in Aslan.

When they are under the ruined city and everything looks grim, Jill begins to panic. Although they followed Aslan’s sign to go under the Ruined City, they had no idea what to do next. But Puddleglum, being confident in Aslan’s faithfulness and word, assures Jill to trust Aslan’s instructions:

"Oh, whatever will become of us?" said Jill despairingly. "Now don't you let your spirits down, Pole," said the Marsh-wiggle. "There's one thing you've got to remember. We're back on the right lines. We were to go under the Ruined City, and we are under it. We're following the instructions again." (148)

Then later on in the story, they are in another difficult situation in which they are forced to trust in Aslan and his instructions. When they are contemplating on whether to untie the Knight from his silver chair, the Knight appeals to them to do so “by Aslan himself.” This was one of the signs. But this created a difficult situation because ethey had just sworn to the prince that they wouldn’t untie him during his enchantment—no matter what they said.

Jill explains the conundrum, but notice Puddleglum’s steady trust in Aslan’s word:

“Yet could Aslan have really meant them to unbind anyone—even a lunatic—who asked it in his name? Could it be a mere accident? Or how if the Queen of the Underworld knew all about the signs and had made the Knight learn this name simply in order to entrap them? But then, supposing this was the real sign? ... They had muffed three already; they daren't muff the fourth. "Oh, if only we knew!" said Jill. "I think we do know," said Puddleglum. "Do you mean you think everything will come right if we do untie him?" said Scrubb. "I don't know about that," said Puddleglum. "You see, Aslan didn't tell Pole what would happen. He only told her what to do. That fellow will be the death of us once he's up, I shouldn't wonder. But that doesn't let us off following the sign." (167)

Puddleglum didn’t know what would happen exactly, but he did know that Aslan’s signs are true and trustworthy. From there, we see that they made the right choice as this Knight was the Prince they were sent to rescue.

The marsh-wiggle felt toward Aslan and his signs what the psalmist felt toward God: “This I know, that God is for me. In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:9-11). God and his word are trustworthy; I then shall not be afraid.

7. There are No Accidents with God

But Puddleglum’s largest steady statement of trust comes at a different time. And it is so powerful, that I wanted to make it its own insight listed here.

When the Knight is still under his spell, he tries to convince Eustace, Jill, and Puddleglum that they’re seeing the words “under me” in the Ruined City had nothing to do with their purpose. He explains it away. Here’s the dialogue:

"We had been told to look for a message on the stones of the City Ruinous," said Scrubb. "And we saw the words under me." The Knight laughed even more heartily than before. "You were the more deceived," he said. "Those words meant nothing to your purpose. Had you but asked my Lady, she could have given you better counsel. For those words are all that is left of a longer script, which in ancient times, as she well remembers, expressed this verse:

Though under Earth and throneless now I be,
Yet, while I lived, all Earth was under me.

From which it is plain that some great king of the ancient giants, who lies buried there, caused this boast to be cut in the stone over his sepulchre; though the breaking up of some stones, and the carrying away of others for new buildings, and the filling up of the cuts with rubble, has left only two words that can still be read. Is it not the merriest jest in the world that you should have thought they were written to you?" (153-154)

In response to this, both Eustace and Jill are quite shaken up. Lewis writes,

This was like cold water down the back to Scrubb and Jill; for it seemed to them very likely that the words had nothing to do with their quest at all, and that they had been taken in by a mere accident. (154)

They see the Knights point. They take to the idea that it was an accident, a coincidence. But not Puddleglum. His faith is staunch. And it’s a great example for us. He replies,

"Don't you mind him," said Puddleglum. "There are no accidents. Our guide is Aslan; and he was there when the giant King caused the letters to be cut, and he knew already all things that would come of them; including this." (154)

He sees through the weak argument of it being an ‘accident.’ He rightly replies that with their guide Aslan, there are no accidents. Even though it might be true that the carved words were originally from a longer, ancient script, Aslan still knew that. He was still in control. He just used them. Again, there are no accidents with him.

This applies to our God. Just because there is a human explanation to something does not mean that God has not been at work. That’s silly reasoning. He uses human means to accomplish his plans. He is the “only Sovereign” (1 Timothy 6:15) who alone decides what happens and comes to past. He alone foresees and orchestrates for his purposes. And so, we should take heart that although humans are at work in certain situations, and although many might want to tell us that it is all chaotic, there truly are no accidents with God (Genesis 50:20).

8. Pleasure, Clouding, and Skepticism Are Used by the Darkness to Make You Disbelieve

Thus far we have talked about Aslan’s signs, how Jill and Eustace stray from them due to worldly comforts, and how Puddleglum shines as a light of trust in the midst of this all. But this isn’t all Lewis has to say about the battle of trusting in God’s Word. In a similar vein to his book The Screwtape Letters, he also in this novel helpfully sheds some light on how dark and demonic forces try to make us wander and disbelieve.

His main villain in The Silver Chair is the Witch. She isn’t the same Witch from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but she is similar in her dislike of Aslan. And in this book, she has three schemes she tries to make them wander and disbelieve.

1. Using the Appeal of Cares and Comforts

First, she uses Jill and Eustace’s desire for worldly cares and comforts. Above, we focused on how this impacted Jill and Eustace—how it led them to forget the signs and even start to dislike them. But it is helpful to point out that this originated with the Witch herself. She—known to them as the Lady—met them on the path and cleverly put the desire for comfort in their hearts. While they were asking her about the City Ruinous, she directed them to Harfang,

“In Harfang you may or may not hear tidings of the City Ruinous, but certainly you shall find good lodgings and merry hosts. You would be wise to winter there, or, at the least, to tarry certain days for your ease and refreshment. There you shall have steaming baths, soft beds, and bright hearths; and the roast and the baked and the sweet and the strong will be on the table four times in a day." (89)

From here, as we talked about above, Eustace and Jill fixate on those foods, baths, and comforts. If it wasn’t for Puddleglum, they might have forgotten the task at hand altogether.

2. Clouding their Minds

After they free Prince Rillian, the Witch comes in to try to stop them from exiting and returning to Narnia. In order to do so this time, she literally tries to cloud their thinking:

Now the Witch said nothing at all, but moved gently across the room, always keeping her face and eyes very steadily towards the Prince. When she had come to a little ark set in the wall not far from the fireplace, she opened it, and took out first a handful of a green powder. This she threw on the fire. It did not blaze much, but a very sweet and drowsy smell came from it. And all through the conversation which followed, that smell grew stronger, and filled the room, and made it harder to think. Secondly, she took out a musical instrument rather like a mandolin. She began to play it with her fingers—a steady, monotonous thrumming that you didn't notice after a few minutes. But the less you noticed it, the more it got into your brain and your blood. This also made it hard to think. (173)

She didn’t want them to think straight. She knew that they knew rightly, that they were thinking straight. But what if she could make their thinking cloudy? Then she could manipulate them. Then she could convince them and control them—like she had been doing to the Prince for ten years.

As for us, although demons and the devil might not have the green powder used in the story, they do use the same tactic. If they can make our convictions and thoughts fuzzier, they can convince and control. Satan tried to cloud the thinking of Adam and Eve right away in the Garden, by cleverly twisting God’s words (Genesis 3:1-5). And he and his demons have been trying to deceive in similar ways ever since.

3. Making them Skeptical about What is True

The third scheme of the Witch is skepticism. She cleverly tries to question things in order to make them disbelieve what they know to be true. She does this because she wants them to believe that the dark world they are in underground is the only real world. She wants to convince them that the other world—with the sun, Aslan, and Narnia—are not actually real. She does this by clever skepticism.

Puddleglum is trying to maintain thinking straight, and he does so by recalling the sun. He states, “But I know I was there once. I've seen the sky full of stars. I've seen the sun coming up out of the sea of a morning and sinking behind the mountains at night” (176-177). In response to this, the Witch begins her skepticism: “What is this sun that you all speak of? Do you mean anything by the word?” (178). The Prince eventually responds, followed by the Witch once more:

"Please it your Grace," said the Prince, very coldly and politely. "You see that lamp. It is round and yellow and gives light to the whole room; and hangeth moreover from the roof. Now that thing which we call the sun is like the lamp, only far greater and brighter. It giveth light to the whole Overworld and hangeth in the sky." "Hangeth from what, my lord?" asked the Witch; and then, while they were all still thinking how to answer her, she added, with another of her soft, silver laughs: "You see? When you try to think out clearly what this sun must be, you cannot tell me. You can only tell me it is like the lamp. Your sun is a dream; and there is nothing in that dream that was not copied from the lamp. The lamp is the real thing; the sun is but a tale, a children's story." (178)

They know that they’ve seen the sun. But through he skepticism, she cleverly questions them in order to make them question what they’ve always known to be true. And she even convinces Jill for the moment. Jill replies, “Yes I see now...It must be so” (178).

The Witch does the same with Aslan:

"There's Aslan." "Aslan?" said the Witch, quickening ever so slightly the pace of her thrumming. "What a pretty name! What does it mean?" "He is the great Lion who called us out of our own world," said Scrubb, "and sent us into this to find Prince Rilian." "What is a lion?" asked the Witch. "Oh, hang it all!" said Scrubb. "Don't you know? How can we describe it to her? Have you ever seen a cat?" "Surely," said the Queen. "I love cats." "Well, a lion is a little bit—only a little bit, mind you—like a huge cat—with a mane. At least, it's not like a horse's mane, you know, it's more like a judge's wig. And it's yellow. And terrifically strong." The Witch shook her head. "I see," she said, "that we should do no better with your lion, as you call it, than we did with your sun. You have seen lamps, and so you imagined a bigger and better lamp and called it the sun. You've seen cats, and now you want a bigger and better cat, and it's to be called a lion. Well, 'tis a pretty make-believe, though, to say truth, it would suit you all better if you were younger.” (179-180)

The Witch knows exactly what she is doing, and it is crafty. Once again, she is taking something (in this instance, Someone) they know to be real, and making them doubt through her skeptical reasoning. Her goal is to get them to disbelieve in their existence. She makes this clear later on, saying to them, “Put away these childish tricks. I have work for you all in the real world. There is no Narnia, no Overworld, no sky, no sun, no Aslan” (180). If she can get them to believe this, then she is there’s. She has won.

The same is true for us and our belief in God today. If the demons can make us skeptical of all our truth claims, then they can eventually try to make us disbelieve in the existence of God at all. We know he’s real—we’ve seen glory, we’ve seen history, we’ve read his word, we’ve been changed, we’ve seen others changed—but you can always be skeptical about anything.

This doesn’t mean we have to be irrational in our faith. Not at all. The Christian faith is a rational, reasonable faith rooted in truth and history. But it does mean that we don’t give in to foolish skepticism. Skepticism can always ask questions. And the darkness wants to attack us with foolish reasoning. We’d do well to be prepared for this, and take heed to Peter’s instruction from 1 Peter 5: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith” (1 Peter 5:8-9).

In all three of these means—through the use of comforts, clouding, and skepticism—the goal of the Witch was to do whatever it took to get them away from Aslan’s purposes. But in each case, the characters, especially Puddleglum, went back to what and Who they knew was true. They were victorious over her dark schemes through reliance on Aslan and his word. May we be the same with our God.

9. God Cries Precious Tears at Death, but He Resurrects His Own to New Life because of His Shed Blood

This ninth insight is admittedly wordy, but I think it captures what Lewis was trying to communicate at the end of his novel with Aslan the death of Prince Caspian. At the end of the book, Caspian is dead and the characters are with Aslan near his dead body. In the following scene, Lewis illustrates God’s weeping at death, but also his conquering over it by his blood:

Then Aslan stopped, and the children looked into the stream. And there, on the golden gravel of the bed of the stream, lay King Caspian, dead, with the water flowing over him like liquid glass. His long white beard swayed in it like water-weed. And all three stood and wept. Even the Lion wept: great Lion-tears, each tear more precious than the Earth would be if it was a single solid diamond..."Son of Adam," said Aslan, "go into that thicket and pluck the thorn that you will find there, and bring it to me." Eustace obeyed. The thorn was a foot long and sharp as a rapier. "Drive it into my paw, son of Adam," said Aslan, holding up his right fore-paw and spreading out the great pad towards Eustace. "Must I?" said Eustace. "Yes," said Aslan. Then Eustace set his teeth and drove the thorn into the Lion's pad. And there came out a great drop of blood, redder than all redness that you have ever seen or imagined. And it splashed into the stream over the dead body of the King. At the same moment the doleful music stopped. And the dead King began to be changed. His white beard turned to grey, and from grey to yellow, and got shorter and vanished altogether; and his sunken cheeks grew round and fresh, and the wrinkles were smoothed, and his eyes opened, and his eyes and lips both laughed, and suddenly he leaped up and stood before them—a very young man, or a boy...And he rushed to Aslan and flung his arms as far as they would go round the huge neck; and he gave Aslan the strong kisses of a King, and Aslan gave him the wild kisses of a Lion. At last Caspian turned to the others. He gave a great laugh of astonished joy..."But," said Eustace, looking at Aslan. "Hasn't he—er—died?" "Yes," said the Lion in a very quiet voice, almost (Jill thought) as if he were laughing. "He has died. Most people have, you know. Even I have. There are very few who haven't." "Oh," said Caspian. "I see what's bothering you. You think I'm a ghost, or some nonsense. But don't you see? I would be that if I appeared in Narnia now: because I don't belong there any more. But one can't be a ghost in one's own country. I might be a ghost if I got into your world. I don't know. But I suppose it isn't yours either, now you're here." (237-240)

I love Aslan’s response to Eustace asking if Caspian had died: “Yes...He has died. Most people have, you know. Even I have.” But the difference with Caspian (and many others) is that he is given new-creation life through Aslan. Specifically, through Aslan’s shed blood.

This is true of how the living God will deal with his people. He will also raise them to new-creation life because of his precious, shed blood (1 Peter 1:18-19).

But notice, although God has this wonderful resolution to death, this does not mean that God isn’t saddened by death. He still is. That’s particularly what I love about this scene. Aslan doesn’t just shrug the death off because he knew he’d raise Caspian. Not at all. He still weeps. He cries “great Lion-tears, each tear more precious than the Earth would be if it was a single solid diamond.” And the same is true of our God (John 11:35). Although he has a brighter future than we could’ve ever imagined, he still weeps alongside us, and he does not take death lightly.

10. God’s Word is Reliable In the Midst of Mistakes, Confusion, and Deception

This tenth insight then is a sort of summary of the entire book. The key thread throughout the whole mission of delivering the Prince is Aslan’s four signs he gives to Jill. These signs guide the storyline, and these are what the main characters bank on when things get tough.

And their adherence to the signs dictates their success or struggle. When they follow the signs, things go surprisingly well. But, as we’ve seen above, when the signs are forgotten or neglected, things go much worse. If Jill had remembered and recalled the signs, they would’ve avoided much trouble. This shows that it is always best to obey God’s word. It truly is “for our good always” (Deuteronomy 6:24) and a “light to our path” (Psalm 119:105).

But I think this isn’t the main insight to take away about God’s word from The Silver Chair. It is true that obeying God’s word makes us prosper (Joshua 1:7), but the main insight about God’s word from The Silver Chair is how reliable and sure this word is in the midst of all their mistakes, confusion, and deception.

Through all the seeming chaos of the story, Aslan’s signs held true. In fact, it seems that Aslan knew all the mistakes, confusions, and deceptions would occur, and then gave them instructions accordingly. And this shows his goodness and reliability. For example, one of the signs was for them to go under the city which had the words “under me” written on it. But this sign itself assumes that the children would be high enough to see these words. And they only were able to see those words from high up because they went into a tall building in Harfang—something they did because they were following the Witch’s instructions. In other words, Aslan knew their mistakes they’d make, and accordingly gave them his signs.

But what does this have to do with the word being sure and reliable? It shows that they could never be in a situation in which it was outside of Aslan’s control or counsel. He knew their frame and their faltering. And he commanded them accordingly.

Our God is the same in how he commands. When we talk about the “sufficiency” of the Bible, we mean that God’s instructions and teachings are always capable of helping us and guiding us. No matter what mistake we might have made, what confusion we might be in, or what deception we might have been twisted by, God’s word is still reliable and sure. Jill, Eustace, and Puddleglum learned this through their trials, and we will learn the same from ours. Through it all, our God’s word is always sure, reliable, and trustworthy.