Ryan Paulson | 25 November 2020
When I was a young boy, my dad read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to me, my brother and sister. I vividly remember the scene where Lucy first steps through the back of the closet in Professor Kirke’s house and into Narnia. There was something transcendent about that moment that pricked my heart, even as a young boy. The thought that there was another world so close, and yet not normally accessible was compelling. The idea that there might be something more going on in the world than what our eyes can see was mesmerizing.
When C.S. Lewis wrote The Chronicles of Narnia, he did far more than write a kid’s series, he presents a competing cosmology to the one modernity has handed us. We all intrinsically know there is more going on in the world than what we can see, but we are conditioned to respond only to that which our eyes perceive. Over the last few centuries, the West has been primarily shaped by the scientific method. Truth is often identified by what’s observable, measurable, and repeatable. And yet, that view of the world is extremely limiting. The Scriptures present a view far more akin to what Lewis proposed in Narnia – where the spiritual realm overlaps with the physical world.
It shouldn’t surprise us that Daniel offers his readers insights into this overlap between the spiritual and physical realm. Daniel recorded the angel Gabriel speaking to him, writing,
… Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.”
Pause and take in what Daniel is asserting. First, because of his prayer, an angel was sent. Second, there was some sort of battle in heaven that caused Gabriel to get held up. Third, another angel named Michael was dispatched to come to Gabriel’s aid – because Michael had some sort of jurisdiction over the nation of Israel. Finally, the angel delivered a verbal message to Daniel.
That’s a lot to take in. I can understand why it’s more comfortable for us to focus almost exclusively on the world we can see. However, if we are going to have a worldview that’s shaped by Scripture and not the scientific revolution, we must make space for those battles that rage in the spiritual realm – a cosmic conflict that bleeds over into our daily lives.
The angel’s revelation to Daniel is designed to spur us on to become people of fervent prayer. As Jesus followers, we must recognize that our prayers help shape what happens in the spiritual and earthly realms. God responds to the prayer of his people. Today, take a moment to pause and pray, and then imagine heaven responding to your prayer.