ChroniclesI asked my BFF which character I should discuss in this week’s Lesson from Narnia. She said less people would talk about Eustace, so I should go with him. To this, I said “Ah, Eustace is my favorite.” This caused some surprise on her part–she doesn’t care for him.

Let’s see if I can explain why Eustace is my favorite.

Yes, Eustace is an insufferable prick in the beginning of The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader.” And not just in the beginning. He stays that way for a long time.

But it is Eustace, therefore, that has the most astounding transformation.

Eustace is a hateful child. He’s mean to his cousins, Lucy and Edmund. When he gets sucked into the painting with them he whines (and, oh, how I hate whining). Then to top it all off he turns out to be thief.

But perhaps this is the start of why he is my favorite. I see my own flaws through him. How many times have I whined because I’ve been sucked into something that I really didn’t want to experience? Here he is in one of the most beautiful lands and all he can do is whine. I’ve done that. How many times have I treated those around me with disdain? And how many blessings have I robbed others of?

But Aslan knew that he had to suck Eustace into Narnia so he could be transformed. . .and, boy, is he.

Eustace’s thievery leads him to literally becoming a dragon. A miserable dragon, but one who starts to realize that he has been wrong. Thus my favorite passage in the entire series. It’s on page 90 in my copy of The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader”. It’s too long to quote completely here. . .but here’s some of its beauty:

“Well, he [Aslan] peeled the beastly stuff right off–just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt–and there it [dragon skin] was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. . . . After that it became perfectly delicious. . .I found all the pain had gone from my arm.”

There is so much in just this little bit of my most favorite pages. First, it takes Aslan to dig deep enough that ALL the bad is stripped away. Eustace tried, but he didn’t go far enough; often we only see the surface of our own darkness. Then it hurt. Yes, stripping away our fears, our insecurities, our flaws and faults–it hurts. But then do you see what happened? Then it was delicious. And finally, Eustace is smaller than he was. He recognizes his inadequacies as just a mere man.

It is only with God that we can be so transformed. I love that CS Lewis recognizes the pain of that transformation, but immediately highlights the delicious freedom of it as well.

As I said last month. . .I am more of a Eustace (or an Edmund–who’s still coming in our lessons). I need God to strip away the things I hide behind, and though it is terrifying and often excruciating, I know that the final result will indeed be delicious.

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