What If You Go Alone?

In C.S. Lewis’ book “Prince Caspian,” he writes one of the most difficult and most beautiful scenes I’ve found in all of Lewis’ books.  Lucy, the youngest of the group, sees clear direction from the Jesus-figure (the lion Aslan) – but no one will listen to her because they can’t see what she can see.  After hours lost and near-disaster, they set up camp.  Lucy wakes up in the middle of the night to find Aslan nearby.  He tells her to wake up her older siblings and tell them to come, right then, in the middle of the night, to follow the one they can’t see.

Flashlight fun in Lava Beds National Monument, California

Lucy says, “Oh, Aslan… How could I – I couldn’t have left the others and come up to you alone, how could I?  …oh well, I suppose I could.  Yes, and it wouldn’t have been alone, I know, not if I was with you.”  It’s not much fun to wake up your elders in the middle of the night to tell them something they don’t want to hear and, in fact, can’t believe because they can’t see what you can see.

Aslan sums up their conversation: “Go and wake the others and tell them to follow.  If they will not, then you at least must follow me alone.”

Horse Camp below Mt. Shasta, California

I hear a lot these days about the importance of community.  It’s not all bad; in fact, having the right kind of community can be an incredible boost to your faith.  But into every Christian’s life comes a time when God calls them to do something that either 1) no one else thinks is right or a good idea or, 2) they think that no one else thinks is a good idea.

At that junction comes the choice: Do I lie down to sleep like everyone is telling me to do, or do I follow God alone?

Sunrise at the Cloud Cap Campground, Oregon

Lucy didn’t see Aslan and run off on her own.  She told the others what Aslan had told her and asked them to come.  But she also made it clear: This is what she must do, whether they came with her or not.  As older siblings, the others could have forced her to stay.  Because it is a story, they eventually gave in and came with her, despite what they could not see.

“…Cobbles and kettledrums!” one of the characters says.  “I hope this madness isn’t going to end in a moonlit climb and broken necks!”

In the end, all of them see Aslan.  But it took faith in Lucy and, at the very least, trust that she might be right before any of them could see what she saw.

Trail junction in Swiftcurrent Pass, Glacier National Park, Montana

When God tells us to go in a direction that no one else is going, it can shake us a bit.  We want to be certain: You really want me to go here?  We doubt our ability to hear God’s voice; we wonder if perhaps we have it wrong; we look to others to confirm that we’re hearing what we think we’re hearing.

But God may be calling you out alone.  And when that happens, we can’t be dependent on others to hear God for us.

Canyon Ridge Trail, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington

If no one comes with you, that’s not an option to say “it’s not my fault” and let it drop.  Lucy tried that, and she quickly came to the conclusion that Aslan would, in reality, want her to follow him even if the others didn’t… and if she didn’t follow, it was, indeed, her fault.

I’m not saying it’s easy.  I’m not telling you to burn all your bridges and arrogantly go out to do “God’s work.”  I am saying that God’s call on your life must supersede what anyone else might say to you or want for your life.

Hiking up Ypsilon Mountain, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

One of the great things about God is that He knows your position.  He knows who are the authorities in your life, who speaks into your life, and how they affect you.  He’s taken that into consideration when he called you out.

For example, I know a man who, when he was young, wanted to take a short-term missions trip.  He could have gotten the funding and everything else.  But his parents were not keen on this idea, and his father put his foot down: the young man was not going on that trip.

And he did not go.  When God put the opportunity in front of the young man, He knew very well that his parents wouldn’t like the idea.  He also knew that the young man was still under his parents’ authority.  So it didn’t surprise Him when they said “no.”  I don’t know what plan God had in this, but I know that He told the young man to honor his parents in this situation.

Wanless Lake Trail, Cabinet Mountains Wilderness, Montana

Contrast this with other situations I’ve witnessed where God told young adults to do things and their parents said “no.”  Some of them prayed and the parents changed their minds.  Others of them found a creative way to both obey their parents and obey God.  (Like the young man who wanted to build a cross – his father absolutely refused to let him use his power tools, but later relented and said that they could build the cross together.)

My point is that when God calls you out alone, the authorities in your life are not an excuse not to follow God.  Sometimes it’s our choice: Do we really follow God more than anything, or do we listen to the voices around us?  Other times, we must seek God on how to honor the authorities He has placed in our lives while still following God – because at the end of the day, to quote John, “He who has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me” (14:21).

2 thoughts on “What If You Go Alone?

  1. Pam

    Love it
    Spoke to me. I have a new chapter opening up going solo. That’s so looked down on and advised against for fear of safety. God however has given me peace that I am solo and what I do in my life will not always be with others because my passion is not met with others in my circle. If I believe God is with me at all times I either trust Him to take care of me or I don’t. What’s my motive, am I being reckless or educating myself and taking precautions? My times are in God’s hands. I could get killed in a car accident, get cancer, have a violent encounter within the boundaries of a normal work day. I can’t control everything around me. I can’t control where the bad guys are. If I want to spend time in creation worshiping my Creator and I have no one that wants to join me then im going to take precautions and trust God to take care of me. Everything is sifted through God’s sovereign hands. He protected me in my reckless days when I didn’t know Him. I trust He will protect me in my desiring to worship and glorify Him in His creation. How many bad guys pay to go into a national park to hurt someone when they can do so easily for free in any town?’
    Just rambling and processing

  2. Anne Post author

    Hi Pam,

    There’s a lot of rambling and processing that goes into going it alone. My biggest thing when going anywhere alone (and not alone) is to ask myself, “Is this what the Father is doing right now? Is this where I’m supposed to be?” I’ve not walked into Walmart at times because the peace wasn’t there. I’ve turned around and gone a different direction. Even with people around, the dangers are still there… and like Jesus, I want to be doing what the Father is doing. ~Anne