The Last Battle and Its Uncomfortable Truth
We've just recently finished reading C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia to our two youngest kiddos. It's been many years since I've read the series and I was taken aback by the richness of Christian theology woven throughout. What a beautiful series!
Having finished, we were having a family discussion with some of our adult children about which books were their favorites and which books they liked the least. It was an unanimous choice of least favorite: The Last Battle. Although we gleaned some wonderful tidbits from the allegory, my girls especially expressed how upset they were that Susan did not make the final trip into Narnia. I remember feeling very disappointed about that reading the series as a child as well.
Why did Lewis choose to keep Susan from joining the other Kings and Queens of Narnia? I haven't researched the question as yet, but I have my own theory why he did; why it is so significant; and why children are so unhappy about it. Sadly, it is a tragic reality that many of our loved ones may stand before our Creator and will be found wanting. They will have rejected the Gospel and discarded their inheritance as children of God. No one, but I think children especially, wants to see that happen. Children have a particularly difficult time understanding why people abandon Faith and do not believe. Their child-like faith makes absolute sense to them and they can't fathom folks seeing otherwise. It is a rather beautiful gift of innocent faith, untainted by the corrupted disbelief of the world.
The faithful truly desire everyone to embrace the Gospel and to gain Heaven and eternal happiness. This was not lost on Lewis and he incorporated that reality into Narnia at the end of the series. Reading final chapters of the story, we desire all the protagonists to accept and believe in the Gospel and follow Aslan "further up and further in". As disappointing as Susan's rejection of her inheritance as a Daughter of Eve is; it is a true and valuable lesson Lewis provided within the series. It is an uncomfortable but essential truth.