Courage, Dear Heart.

“Drinian’s hand shook on the tiller and a line of cold sweat ran down his face. The same idea was occurring to everyone on board. ‘We shall never get out, never get out,’ moaned the rowers. ‘He’s steering us wrong. We’re going round and round in circles. We shall never get out.’ –The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis

Sound familiar? Ever feel like you’re going in circles? Ever thought, “Did you mean to send me here, Lord?”

In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, the characters sail the seas in search of heroic adventure. When they come upon a strange black fog, they bravely decide to explore it. Once inside it, an unknown force pulls them toward “the Island where Dreams come true.” It’s a place where your actual nighttime dreams come true—the “dreams that make you afraid of going to sleep again.”

When that realization hits, the crew frantically tries to row out of the darkness, but they can’t find a way out.

This scene reminds me of several Bible stories. In the New Testament, when the disciples were caught in a storm, they cried out to Jesus and he stilled the wind and the waves (Mark 4).

In the Old Testament, when the Israelites were delivered out of Egypt, they came up against armies, seas, deserts, hunger, and thirst. Each time they cried out to God, he delivered them.

Before victory came, God’s people faced doubt and fear.

In the storm, the disciples woke Jesus and said, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” When the Israelites faced Pharoah’s army, they said, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?” (Exodus 13:11).

When we take steps of faith, things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes, it’s like we’re trapped between the Red Sea and a giant army. The winds and the waves overwhelm us. We feel like we’re in the dark, going in circles, with no one to steer.

At times, we even wonder things like, “Did God bring me out here to die?”

Spiritual progress and usefulness cannot be measured in tangible ways. We don’t often see God’s purposes while they’re playing out because it takes time to see God’s handiwork. When we come against road blocks, we assume we’ve made a wrong turn, but God sees the big picture and the WAY THROUGH. He’s working under the surface and behind the scenes.

When the Israelites saw Pharoah’s armies, they “cried out to the Lord.” (Exodus 14:10) Moses answered with this promise:

“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
(Exodus 14:13-14 NIV)

When you and I battle discouragement, temptation, loss, doubt, or confusion, when we feel like there’s nothing we can do, or when we run out of courage . . . we can run to God in prayer. As many times a day as we need.

When Lucy is overcome with fear on the Dawn Treader, she whispers, “Aslan, Aslan, if ever you loved us at all, send us help now.” A bird appears and flies ahead of the ship, guiding them out of the darkness. The narrator tells us this: “No one except Lucy knew that as it circled the mast it had whispered to her,

‘Courage, dear heart’, and the voice, she felt sure, was Aslan’s, and with the voice a delicious smell breathed in her face.’”

This is a reminder of what Jesus told his disciples: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

C.S. Lewis ends the scene with this: “In a few moments the darkness turned into a greyness ahead, and then, almost before they dared to begin hoping, they had shot out into the sunlight and were in the warm, blue world again. And all at once everybody realised that there was nothing to be afraid of and never had been.”

COURAGE, dear heart. God goes with you. He loves you and he’s FOR you. He is at work.

Do you need to hear that today? Or does someone you know need to hear it? Please comment below and/or send this to a friend.

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1 Comment

  1. Sooo timely, beautiful friend! I even had just reminded myself to have “Courage, Dear heart,” a couple of days ago by putting the words on my phone screen. Beautifully written reminder of the Lord’s work behind the scenes.

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