since they had been without food for a long time, paul stood up among them and said, “men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from crete and incurred this injury and loss. yet now i urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. for this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom i belong and whom i worship, and he said, ‘do not be afraid, paul; you must stand before caesar. and behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ [acts 27:21-24]


on another boat ride, in the voyage of the dawn treader by cs lewis, the narnian ship sails within the reach of the dark island–the island where dreams come true.  the sailors think that it would be wonderful to be in a place where all of their desires are fulfilled, until they realize that dreams coming true also means their darkest fears would also surface. as they get closer and closer, their anxieties grow and their fears increase–they become like madmen, ranting and raving about the things that haunt them at night–they cannot get away, they cannot get free–and then lucy, the little girl from our world: sees something–


“lucy looked along the beam and presently saw something in it. at first it looked like a cross, then it looked like an aeroplane, then it looked like a kite, and at last with a whirring of wings it was right overhead and was an albatross. it circled three times round the mast and then perched for an instant on the crest of the gilded dragon at the prow. it called out in a strong sweet voice what seemed to be words though no one understood them. after that it spread its wings, rose, and began to fly slowly ahead, bearing a little to starboard. drinian steered after it not doubting that it offered good guidance. but 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.”


lewis certainly had paul’s treacherous journey in mind when he was envisioning the dangerous plight of the narnian sailors. lucy is the paul on that journey, assured by the angel that God’s promises will be fulfilled.


God does not promise a comfortable passage in this life–the storms will toss us to and fro, but when we remember that our little ship, by God’s hand, will bring us safely to shore, we can rest in his perseverance. the shore is not ‘our present situation’, the shore is ‘aslan’s country’, that is–the final day when we will rest in God’s presence, when Jesus will return and we will reside with him. we have the rock solid promise that one day:


he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”


and he who was seated on the throne said, “behold, i am making all things new.” also he said, “write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” [revelation 21:4,5]


until then, while we face troubles, let us run to the presence of the Lord and hear the words 


“courage, dear heart–do not be afraid”