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Lewis & Quark

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"Follow the Signs, Remember the Signs"

One of the main themes of the Narnia books is that of God's providential hand. This is especially true in The Silver Chair.

As soon as the main characters arrive in the world of Narnia, they get separated. And then the character that has never visited Narnia before (Jill) has an encounter with Aslan.

I say an encounter because it's not that they meet, rather that Aslan teaches and guides Jill. And then Aslan gives her a job to do.

Jill is a selfish child who has never been to Narnia before- and yet Aslan is choosing her to go and save the heir to the throne as the current king sails off on a mission he may never come back from. He chooses someone totally unprepared to save the world. But he gives her tools so that she may accomplish her task.

They sit there on the cliff, girl and lion, repeating and reviewing the steps for a full afternoon, despite the mission being time sensitive.
Jill tried, and didn't get them quite right. So the Lion corrected her, and made her repeat them again and again till she could say them perfectly. He was very patient over this...
And once they are memorized he gives her a warning before sending her on her way.
"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...let nothing turn your mind from the signs...the signs you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs and believe the signs. Nothing else matters."

Well, Jill finally joins her friend and gets started upon her mission. But, do you know what? She fails in following every step. She doesn't get a single thing right. Even as she is literally walking on one of the instructions she fails to see it, because she has focused her mind on other things. She is distracted because now the group, instead of trying to find the prince, is focused on following the words of someone other than Aslan and take care of their own temporal needs.

Despite this horrid following of instructions on Jill's part, Aslan doesn't just throw in the towel and go get some warrior to rescue the prince, he wakes Jill up, opens her eyes, and reminds her of his words. She realizes what she has done. She gets the others to pay attention, too. And though the going gets rougher, they avoid being eaten (yes, eaten), and are able to rescue the prince.

Aslan's providential hand (paw?) sustains and protects Jill. Just as God, even when we fail miserably, continues to care for us and use us.

Aslan's providence also secures the fate of Narnia in The Horse and His Boy- more on that next time.
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