The Chronicles of Narnia gives us a joyful image of reconciliation to Jesus
Written by Emily Montesano
One of my biggest insecurities has always been my naïveté and my self-perceived lack of depth. I’ve been told (many times) that it doesn’t take much to make me happy. For example, the other day I squealed with joy as my dear friends’ newborn baby sneezed in her dad’s arms. I was delighted as her tiny little face squished up as she released the world’s smallest sneeze.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been this way. The touch of my bare feet on the grass gives me shivers, and the sight of butterflies dancing together makes me cry. But as I’ve grown up, sometimes I feel as if I haven’t been able to really grow up. I didn’t realize that this childlikeness is, in fact, an act of worship. It isn’t something to be ashamed of.
God gave imagination to all of us. He created art, play, and laughter. He gave us the gift of curiosity and the gift of seeking the width, length, and height of His eternal love for us (Ephesians 3:16-19).
It brings God great joy when we delight in Him and enjoy the very good gifts He’s given us.
I was reminded of this beautiful truth when reading the Narnia series for the first time last year. I quickly became enamoured by the picture of Aslan as a playful protector in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. After Aslan rises from the dead, the Deep Magic begins restoring him and he is overcome with playfulness and youthfulness. Rejoicing with Lucy and Susan, he leads them in a game of tag. Right as they’re about to reach his tail, he:
“. . .[dove] between them, now tossing them in the air with his huge and beautifully velveted paws and catching them again and now stopping unexpectedly so that all three of them rolled over together in a happy laughing heap of fur and arms and legs. It was such a romp as no one has ever had except in Narnia; and whether it was more like playing with a thunderstorm or playing with a kitten Lucy could never make up her mind.”
I love how this paragraph gives us permission to be playful and partake in the unhindered joy God offers us. Aslan invites Lucy and Susan to find rest and delight in his presence, to laugh and be silly just for the sake of laughing and being silly. He invites them to interact with His greatness through play.
When you think about your own relationship with God, have you given yourself permission to be joyful, even playful, in His presence?
Have you ever imagined God playing and laughing? After reading about Aslan playing, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I picture the whole of Heaven shaking with the resounding sound of a deep belly laugh, the kind of laugh you can’t help but share.
Imagine God—the same God who would send His only son to take our place on the cross, the same God who suffered a painful and humiliating death so we wouldn’t have to—inviting you to play a game of tag.
Susan and Lucy felt safe to play chase with Aslan, the mighty lion who had just defeated death. They weren’t hindered by fear but instead ran to him with an unashamed sense of trust and delight. They chased him down, were scooped up and thrown in the air, and landed in the safety of his big, warm paws.
What a beautiful picture of what Jesus’ death on the cross means, and of what God has intended our relationship with Him to look like. Through His death, we’re able to enter into His presence with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12), wonder (Hebrews 12:28), and joy (Psalm 16:11).
“You will make known to me the way of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (Psalm 16:11, NASB). This psalm reminds us we have permission to be fully alive in God’s presence through laughter, play, and creativity.
Remember that the same God who bore our shame and forgave our sins is also the one who made the blobfish, the quokka, and the naked mole-rat. He must have a sense of humour and want us to delight in all He’s made. Get lost in the wonder of God all around you (Romans 1:20). You’re invited to lean into delight and worship as you interact with God, our playful protector, and accept His invitation into deep joy.
Reflect and pray
Father, thank you for your character and for making us in your image. Thank you for creating us with the desire to play and discover at all stages of our lives, and thank you for the gifts you give us just for the pure joy of them. May we marvel at your majesty as we encounter the beauty around us—delighting in the way grass feels on our bare feet, watching bumblebees get pollen stuck on their legs as they float from flower to flower, and squealing as newborn babies sneeze in their dad’s arms. May we practise this wonder as we ponder the extent of your love and the beautiful eternity we have to look forward with you in heaven. Amen.