It is 3:50am. I have been sitting here for 50 minutes and I got nuthin.’ Jakson hasn’t done anything really funny lately. Doris has kept me in matching shoes for a few weeks. Jon-Mical is just being smart. And Josh and Jacob are progressing toward stardom with no real glitches. Not much to work with today.
So, here’s a thought. Let me make up a story, a fairytale. The thing about fairy tales is that they have enough of the vaguely familiar in them that you can see yourself but they are fantastical enough that you can separate from it by saying, “Well, that can’t be true. There are no dragons.”
Let’s see how it goes. Once upon a time, (because all good, self-respecting fairy tales begin with, once upon a time,) there was a handsome prince who was the pride of His father’s eye. He was tall and strong and brave, and kind beyond belief. He could have chosen any of the most beautiful girls in the kingdom to be his bride but his heart was waiting for just the one. (Okay, I know you’re thinking this is about me.)
One evening there was a disturbance in the rough part of the capitol city and the prince decided he would leave the safety of the castle to go see if he could help. It was a dangerous trip for even the beloved king had enemies and they would love nothing better that to kill the prince. But the prince went, leaving his armed guard, his royal chariot, even his regal robe. Instead he wrapped himself in an old, tattered, dirty garment, mounted one of the plow horses from the royal farm and rode into the evening shrouded city.
He quickly found the place of disturbance. It was in the red-light district where women of very bad reputations, sold themselves to pleasure fat, drunk, beefy faced men for the money they could get. Most of the women did not do this of their own accord but they had pimps, slave owners really, that forced the women to prostitution by charging them huge amounts for rent and food. The women worked through the night but every day the debt grew more than the meager coins they would bring back in the morning.
One woman was vocal against that. She was rallying her fellow women of the street and telling them that they deserved better. That they should organize, unite, and try to change their plight. She was met with apathy from her fellow workers and violence from the pimps. The crowd was jeering as the leaders drug her into the market square and decided to make an example of her. They threw her in the street. Accused her of sexual sin (the very thing that they were forcing her to do) and decided to stone her. (Look, it’s 4 am. I can’t be expected to make the WHOLE story up.)
Up rides the prince, in disguise, and gets off his horse. Even in disguise he is an imposing figure, so the crowd of angry men fall back, and the prince and the prostitute are left together in the center of the circle. He stoops down to brush the dirt from her face and when their eyes meet, the unthinkable happens. The heart that he has kept so carefully for all of these years, with all of these potential mates, inexplicably breaks wide open and the prince falls madly in love with the women. It makes no sense. I cannot happen. But it does, high and regal and perfect royalty stoops down into the dirt and falls for shame, and brokenness and sin. He does not see any of that. He sees her eyes. He sees her heart. He sees her as God made her to be. And he loves her.
Now, he has a problem. If he takes off his tattered robe and reveals the fine purple uniform he has on underneath she will recoil in fear and shame. So, he wraps the cloak tighter around him, and he takes her hand, and he asks her to marry him. (Hey, I know it’s the first date but it’s a fairy tale.) Marrying means exchanging lives. He gives her his life and she gives him hers. If you’re following the story you know two things: He knows who he is and he knows who she is; but, she knows who she is and she doesn’t know who he is and she doesn’t know that he knows who she is. She may have a faint suspicion, maybe he looks a little bit like the picture on the coins she takes in for her trade. He certainly smells too good to be a local. So she has a decision to make. First, she has to be willing to trust him, that he will truly love her, that he will care for her, that he will have her best interest in his heart. And secondly, as easy as it seems, she has to be willing to give up her life for him, the dirt, the debt, the degradation. She has to place all of that in his hands and trust that even knowing that stuff about her, he will love her anyway. She has to tell him everything and believe that it will not change his heart for her.
Now all fairy tales end in happily ever after so let’s make this one be no exception. She does. He does. They clean her up, put on the most beautiful white gown in the country. She is astonishingly gorgeous. Somehow, as he continued to see her as perfect, she actually, began to look that way. The royal wedding was out of this world. Thousands came. The palace was packed. But when the bride and groom stepped into the door of the great cathedral to walk down the aisle everyone gasped. She was radiant in white, not a spot or wrinkle, incredibly beautiful. He was handsome but he still wore that old, tattered, dirty cloak. For he was determined that on this day all eyes would be on his bride and they would see her as he saw her. Nothing would distract from her beauty or in any way reflect the shame of her past.
Revelation 19:6-9 “Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”—for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
Isn’t that a great fairy tale? Except it is true. Jesus is the prince and you and I are the bride. Here is what we need to remember:
- He is as crazy about us as a young bridegroom is about his bride, walking down the aisle.
- He sees us as radiant, spotless, perfect, just the way we were created to be.
- We have taken all of our junk (and I had a lot) and exchanged it for the rich, full life He gives.
- He will never, ever, ever, remind us of where we came from. If that stuff comes up it is not from the prince.
- Finally, Jesus says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Alright, I know that is Jeremiah 31:3. Give me a break. It’s 5am. But it is the word of Jesus through the prophet.) And He still says that to you today.
There you go. When it’s early in the morning and you don’t have anything to write about, or think about, or talk about…write and think and talk about this.