Well, here it is August already and I’m due for another article! My, time flies. This month’s article came about in a few ways. I was reading The Silver Chair whilst contemplating possibilities. In the interest of continuing with a few female-focused articles, I thought of Jill, Narnia’s prophet of sorts. And I found myself thinking of another prophet with a few things in common with our friend Pole. So, I give you the two reluctant prophets: Jill and Jonah!
An Unwanted Task
The similarities between these two figures start at the very beginning. Both are given a task to do by God (or Aslan). Jonah was told to go to Nineveh and “preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” (Jonah 1:2) Jill was given the task of finding the lost prince Rilian, and was given four signs which she was to follow. However, neither one followed their directions. Jonah “ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed to Tarshish to flee from the Lord.” (Jonah 1:3) Jill did not desire to follow the signs she was given, either. She, instead of going under the Ruined City as she was told to do, took refuge in the House of Harfang, seeking comfort from the harsh weather.
In the Mouth of the Beast
So, in order to get these two back on track, God (or Aslan) used a bit more forceful tactic. In Jonah’s case, He “sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up.” (Jonah 1:4) By casting lots, the sailors of the ship found that Jonah was the cause of the storm, because he had not done what God had told him to and was instead running away from Him. They threw him overboard (at Jonah’s suggestion), and was swallowed by a great fish. For three days he stayed there until “the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.” (Jonah 2:10) After this experience, Jonah was told again to go to Nineveh, and this time, he complied.
Jill’s experience was not quite so dramatic, but still a bit forceful. Hers occurred in a dream, while sleeping at Harfang. In her dream, one of the toys her nurse had brought in, a giant horse, turned into Aslan, who “took her up in his jaws.and carried her to the window and made her look out.” There she saw what she should have seen the night before, despite the snowstorm: the Ruined City, with the words UNDER ME written across it. The following day, after remembering her dream and remembering what it meant, she and her companions found a way underneath the city, though it was more difficult than if she had followed the signs in the first place.
Trying to do it “My Way”
One final bit worth mentioning is that they both let their own agenda get in the way of God’s plan. (Or Aslan’s.oh, you get the idea by now.) Jonah’s message to the Ninevites was one of destruction for their evil ways. He told them, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” (Jonah 3:4) But when they turned from their ways, God decided to spare the city. At this, “Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry.” (Jonah 4:1) He let his own agenda – namely, wanting the city destroyed – cloud his vision of God’s plan for the city. In the same way, Jill let her own comfort cloud her own sight of what Aslan’s plan for her was. She allowed the thought of warmth and shelter at Harfang to distract her from following the signs she was given.
Though both Jill and Jonah disobeyed initially, the job they were sent to do was done. These ‘reluctant prophets’ may not have been the ideal representatives due to their unwillingness, but they both show that God has a plan for all of us, and it is much better to follow it than to grudgingly go our own route. With that thought, I leave you until next time!