Like many writers, I love to read.
Even as a child there was nothing I enjoyed more than curling up with a good book and a snack to tune out the real world for an hour or two.
And yet, the stories I read way back then taught me so much about how to cope with the real world today.
“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
Even though G.K. Chesterton is talking specifically about fairy tales in this quote, the truth is that all the stories I remember most from my childhood encourage me to slay dragons that I face.
Stories like A Wrinkle in Time, The Silver Chair, and The Island of the Blue Dolphins push me to see adversity as something not to give in to but trials to overcome. They also show me that the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and love are my tools to defeat the dragons in my life.
The Silver Chair, written by C.S. Lewis, stands out to me as one of my favourite ‘quest’ stories. Who doesn’t like an adventurous journey? Jill, Eustace, and Puddleglum, the main characters, have to rescue a prince, and they make blunder after blunder as they try to follow the signs they were given. Through all their mistakes, they hang on to their faith that Aslan, their guide and the Christ-like representative in the whole Narnia series, will still be able to get them where they’re supposed to be.
I’ve seen this in my own life often. I take a wrong direction and perhaps am tempted to despair that I’ve lost the path completely. God has come in again and again to show me I can trust His plan; He will get me to my destination. The Silver Chair helps strengthen my faith in Romans 8:28 that reminds me God will use all things together for good.
Another cherished story of mine is The Island of the Blue Dolphin. Scott O’Dell writes with a hauntingly spare prose about a young Native American girl, Karana, accidentally left behind by her tribe. In order to survive, Karana must preserve and store food, learn to hunt and make tools, and battle loneliness. She ends up spending almost twenty years on her own but never gives up the expectation of her tribe coming back to get her one day. Her hope of rescue is inspiring.
Having hope is crucial! Proverbs 13:12 tells us hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Karana’s story of her perseverance continues to encourage me to plan and prepare, not only for my future, but also for my present.
Finally, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle stands out to me as another example of a ‘quest’ story with a heavenly message. Meg Murray, Charles Wallace Murray, and Calvin O’Keefe must travel through time and space to rescue Meg and Charles Wallace’s father from an evil entity. Their intellect and reason aren’t enough to save him. In the end, only the power of love can deliver Mr. Murray from the mindless hate-filled ‘It.’
This story shows me that love truly does conquer all. When I want to see evil vanquished, this story exemplifies God’s truth of overcoming evil with good.I’m reminded that God’s love saves, God’s love protects, and God’s love brings us safely home again.
I turn to stories like these to be inspired to ‘fight the good fight’ and see the dragons in my own life struck down.
What about you? How have your favourite stories impacted you? Share in the comments below!
This post first appeared on Quills & Inkblotts