What do you say to someone who feels lost and adrift in a dark, dark place? In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis, the heroes of the story have unwisely sailed toward the Dark Island, a place surrounded by an impenetrable, cold darkness. They quickly became disoriented and resolved to find their way into sunshine.
The Dark Island is an accursed place which means without a breeze, the sailors pull on the oars. Minutes pass. They should have been out of the darkness by now. Gradually it dawns on them: they don’t know where they are, they cannot see where they are going, and they may well be heading deeper into the darkness. Perhaps they will never escape. Panic begins to overtake the crew.
Up in the crow’s nest, Lucy whispers a prayer: “Aslan (the talking lion who represents Christ), if ever you loved us at all, send us help now.” Lewis writes, “The darkness did not grow any less, but she began to feel a little – a very, very little – better.”
Suddenly some light is seen and something like a searchlight begins to illuminate the ship. A white albatross appears and circles the mast, alighting on the prow of the ship. It calls out in a strong, sweet voice what seemed to be words and gently flies off, bearing a little to starboard. The helmsman realizes this must be the way to safety and steers the ship after it.
Only Lucy, however, heard three words as the albatross circled the mast, “Courage, dear heart.” She knew immediately it was the voice of Aslan. Not many minutes later, the Dawn Treader emerges from the darkness into the light of day.
Sometimes we all end up in circumstances that seem cursed by impenetrable darkness. Lost, we cannot see where we are going. We worry the darkness is getting worse. We wonder if we will ever escape. God’s voice may be nothing more than a whisper, but it penetrates the gloom. It reminds us that by God’s grace and power we will see the sun again.
Perhaps you need to speak that word to someone else today. Perhaps you need to hear it once again yourself. “Courage. Trust God’s promises and cling to Him through the difficult times.”
-Rev Dr William Lewis