Saturday, May 24, 2008

Waiting for the Lion's Roar

I apologize for the lengthy blog-absence and now, without any further ado, I want to plunge right in (If you don't know by now that I am a "Narnia" fan, gentle reader, you must've been subscribing to a different blog!) with some thoughts on walking in faith, based on the somewhat controversial portrayal of High King Peter in the new Disney film, "Prince Caspian."

If you've been following the "buzz" surrounding the characterization of Peter Pevensie in the film, you will note that many book "purists" are highly critical of King Peter being portrayed as having a "bad attitude" in the new Narnia film, when he is so unwaveringly noble in the book. I don't suppose that I previously had an opinion one way or another (I was more focused on the portrayal of Edmund -- more on him and a blog entry on "The Graciousness of Forgiveness" to come), but as I sat through a 2nd viewing of the film last night, I saw Peter in a different light. His attitude wasn't so much "bad" as it was "broken."

Aslan had not made his presence known in over a year (London time), and even after Susan's magic horn had been blown for help, the Great Lion has not appeared. If you have never known the woundedness of keenly feeling the seeming absence of God, especially in an hour of great need, I will go as far as suggesting that perhaps you have never really known God. And when we no longer sense His nearness in our situation, we are faced with a choice --- we can either dig past our feelings (or lack thereof) and cling to His promises; or, like High King Peter in the current film, we can give voice to our discouragement ("I think we've waited for Aslan long enough") and take matters into our own hands.

Some of the greatest heroes of the faith have, like this version of Peter Pevensie, briefly yielded to discouragement when, in the midst of seemingly impossible circumstances, they felt abandoned by God. The "horn" has been blown in a call for help, and not only has help not arrived, but there is no explanation. Just silence.

In Psalm 73 one of the sons of Asaph, in a moment of wavering faith says, "But as for me, my sure footing was almost gone; my steps had nearly slipped" (v. 2), and as he ponders some unanswered questions in his crisis, he confesses "When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me." (v. 16) And, in his dark night of soul, Job cries out, "Oh, if I knew where I might find Him! I would go, even to His throne!" (Job 23:3)

Lest we are further tempted to judge the High King of Narnia, Peter Pevensie, for his grief-stricken faltering in the current movie portrayal, I'd like to suggest that it is his very nobility of character that makes his struggle so real and poignant. In a recent sermon newsletter by New York pastor, David Wilkerson, entitled "An Eclipse of Faith," he points out that "Satan doesn't demand opportunities to break down people whose faith is weak or wavering."

Now, we know that just as the son of Asaph and Job did see God again and had their faith strengthened and restored, so does King Peter in this new film version of "Prince Caspian," and that being said, I do reccomend the film!

Meanwhile, what do we do when our own faith is threatened by an eclipse? We've called on God in prayer, done all that we know to do---we've blown the "horn," so to speak, but no help seems to have come. I'd like to close by reminding us that a seemingly delayed response from God and a brief eclipse of our faith do not mean that He didn't hear our cry and set His answer in motion from the very first moment:

Daniel 10:1-19

In the third year of Cyrus... a message was revealed to Daniel...the message was true, but the appointed time [of waiting] was long...In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food... nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled... Now as I lifted my eyes and looked... a certain man [appeared] clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold... his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude.

...Therefore I was left alone when I saw this great vision, and no strength remained in me...Yet I heard the sound of his words; and while I heard the sound of his words I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground...Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands. And he said to me, "O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you."

Then he said to me, "Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and now I have come because of your words...When he had spoken such words to me, I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless...And suddenly, one having the likeness of the sons of men touched my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke, saying to him who stood before me, "My lord, because of the vision my sorrows have overwhelmed me, and I have retained no strength. For how can this servant of my lord talk with you, my lord? As for me, no strength remains in me now, nor is any breath left in me." Then again, the one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me. And he said, "O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!" So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, "Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me."


Anonymous said...

Hi Nina Ruth, Wow neat to finally see what you look like. I always have found you posts on the "the kry" the message board VERY encouraging. Your a great encourager by the way!!! I too just saw "Prince Caspian" and of course saw how C.S. Lewis once again was writting these stories to explain to us some great truths about the Lord using these characters. I LOVE these books. My read these to us my brother and sister as a child. I still remember them. But before I saw Prince Caspian I refreshed my memory by reading through it once again!

Prince Caspian and the setting is SOOOO neat. It REALLY portrays what is happening EVEN NOW in our world. I could go on and on for DAYS with you on these things...Wanna? :-p

Just kidding...kinda sorta! But the thing that I got out of Prince Caspian is interesting. Number one the land is "Narnia". It is now run by "humans" or "telmarines". But they have said that the narnians are not real! They also say that the stories of Aslan are a "fairy tale." WOW makes me think of the verse in Peter where it says..."we have not followed cunningly devised tales." Speaking of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Also the "telmarines" "humans" of course want to rule the world themselves. Pretty interesting picture of probibly each and every human being. No one want to rely upon Aslan. God to rule over us! They don't "know" Aslan. Or like Lucy and Peter and Susan they all loose confidence in him. As your article notes....VERY interesting observation and verses. Encouraging once again. THIS very day!! As I also am in THAT PLACE of crying out to God. No answers etc. I too thought of the verse in Daniel where his prayer was delayed...but I'm not noble like Daniel. But who knows...Aslan/JESUS is VERY gracious!!! He thinks more highly of me than even I DO!! I love how he shows that part of Aslans character in the book.

I love how they stayed pretty close to the storyline in the movie..and even the characters portrayals as well. Meaning thier individual personalities in there fight of the faith as well. So neat!!!

Julie (ITW/NJ) said...

Nina my friend, you are iron that sharpens iron. You're a treasure. I had thought about the portrayal of Peter in that light. There is the dark night of the soul that we contend with and there is the struggle we have when we can't hear or see the Lord. This is a good lesson.

What I struggled with is that the Peter in the books, flawed though he is, is portrayed very differently. He leads with honor and nobility in humility, giving an example of death to self when confronted by the Lion again. He takes a back seat without complaint and goes further to do Aslan's will. I've loved this character for 30 years and struggled greatly with the film. It's not that the Peter in the film was bad in what he was trying to get's just that it wasn't High King Peter Pevensie the Magnificent. It was a good character that William played, it's just that it was a stranger as it pertains to Narnia. Sure, he went through some of the same things, but it wasn't him. For the films I want to see the books and not fan fiction. I can live with what they produced even though I was personally disappointed in many respects. It's a good film. Just not what I hoped for. For people who have read the books I'd say watch it by all means. For those who haven't, I'd say read the book first. I reread it for the God only knows how many times this last week and saw the drastic difference more.

I can live with the lessons taught in the film, but I missed those in the book that were cast aside. I missed Peter. The person in his place did well teaching a great lesson that you highlighted, but I was just sad to miss the "old friend" of 30 years. Ah well, there it is. Lord willing VDT will do better. Time will tell. Thanks for this lesson though. It's good to look for the good in it all. You're a treasure for helping us to see it.


Lea Maria said...

Hi Nina Ruth,

interesting points - definitely food for thought. I'm looking forward to "Prince Caspian" with great interest & curiosity..! Thanks to everyone for all the great insights.

I can see both sides of the debate on Peter (his character in the book vs. the film). Dark night of the soul, that's a great observation... At the moment, I am tempted to be like the "movie Peter" instead of the courageous, selfless and trusting "book Peter"..! I know which one I'd like to be, but...we all know the flesh is weak..

I had almost decided to skip this one and look forward to VoDT hoping it would be a more faithful story. However, as a diehard fan, I just cannot miss seeing this, regardless all the controversies....I'll be there, if only to show my support fot the next production. Only one more month to wait!

Blessings dear friend,
Lea Maria

Ski Mom said...

Your insight is a gift, your ability to offer encouragement a true blessing. Keep writing.

Terb said...

Wow. I didn't like Peter's portrayal in the movie, but what you said makes sense. And I especially like the final passage from Daniel. Thanks for the insight, and I hope you write more.

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hannahzuzu said...

Very nice article. I'm glad that someone else appreciated that scene in the movie, which I think was very meaningful, and powerful to me.