(Spoilers from The Last Battle by C.S Lewis are ahead. This book is the last in the Chronicles of Narnia series, so if you haven’t read the series yet and are planning to, you should probably skip this post.)
I’m studying Psalm 44 for a school project. It is reminding me heavily of C.S. Lewis’ The Last Battle. This idea has been weighing heavily on my heart as I work through this paper. It is interesting to note that Paul specifically quotes Psalm 44 in Romans 8:36* concerning Christian persecution:
“As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.'”
If you continue reading Psalm 44, you’ll notice the extreme confusion of the Psalmist. He accuses God of forsaking His nation, the Jewish people. The Psalmist then takes it a step further. He accuses God of causing the actual pain Israel is facing.
The Psalm ends without resolution. It is almost deafening how quiet God’s lack of response is.
I remember reading The Last Battle and waiting with bated breath for Aslan to “be on the move,” for Aslan to show up. He always had before when his people needed him. What made this situation any different? But as his people, the talking animals, were being sold, killed, and confused, Aslan remained silent. When the small band of remaining loyal troops began to fight, I thought, “Now is the time!” But the Lion was quiet. He let his people die.
It is heart-wrenching and yet, joyous at the same moment. I remember sobbing into my pillow as I read the final chapter. As the loyal Narnians approached Aslan’s kingdom, I was hurt and happy. No more pain, but the death had been real.
Some things I draw from both Scriptures and Lewis’ writing that I hope might help you when it seems like God has abandoned you:
- God isn’t afraid of your questions. It is ok to ask, “Why?” God expects and honors questions throughout the Bible that are asked boldly with a humble spirit.
- Keeping your eyes on Christ doesn’t mean there won’t be tears along the way. It’s ok to hurt. Allow yourself to feel pain. Embrace it.
- Aslan died long before he allowed his people to die. Christ only asks us to follow in the same pain and abandonment He has already felt.
- Aslan was resurrected, and he would resurrect his people. Christ was resurrected, and He will resurrect His people.
- Pain is real. But a comforting thought: God has felt all of our pain: “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4).” Our pain allows us to fellowship with Christ in a special way. Apart from God and the work of Christ, our pain is purposeless and fruitless. And without Christ, we have no one who truly understands our trials. Christ has a purpose for the hurt we face.
- God will destroy evil. His hate for sin is far greater than ours. Trust His plan even when your faith wavers and every wall around you crumbles. He doesn’t just have a cosmic plan—He has an individual plan for you. Your pain is part of that plan, and He will use it as He used His own pain—to build His kingdom. Jesus’ pain was an assault on evil. The disciple’s pain is also an assault on evil.
*All Biblical references are in ESV unless otherwise stated.