Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Ever After

I watched Ever After a few days ago. It's funny how movies, more often than not, send me plummeting to an inward - forever inward - battlefield in my mind. There, everything is deep, raw, and life-altering.

As I sank further into myself after watching it, I related to the heroine of the story. In case it's been awhile, Ever After is sort of a Cinderella story. Towards the end, everything is lost. She has been bought by this really ugly, yucky guy. But, somehow, she worms her way out of the whole situation and is leaving his estate. Just then, the handsome prince comes to save her from the ugly, yucky guy, but she's already saved herself from the ugly, yucky guy; yet, she knows that something's still missing. She's saved herself from some things, but not everything. She still needs to be saved from the destiny of filth that's been handed to her and expected from her. She needs to be saved from being forced to settle for the drudgery of everyday life. She needs to be saved from the absence of hope of Happily Ever After.

The handsome prince does it.

I have saved myself from a lot of painful things - wormed my way out of some pretty helter skelter situations, and still, I need to be rescued. I need someone to be willing to openly view the sorrows that this life has handed to me -big and small- and free me from them. I need a prince charming to say to me, "I'm so glad you've waited for happily ever after. You don't have to let go of your dream. You will
live happily ever after, and you will do it in my strong arms."

And then the Lord Jesus whispers to me, "Your hopes about happily ever after will not be dashed to pieces nor forgotten. They will not fail. You will live happily ever after, and you will do it in my strong arms."

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The gospel is true. Here's how I know.

* There is a God. He is real. The world shouts of Him as an incredible Designer. Without Him, we wouldn’t live because He gives life to us.
* He came as a man, Jesus Christ. He lived and died as God. He wasn’t just a man; otherwise the world as it is wouldn’t make sense. Spiritual beings yield to Him. History was altered because of Him. People change completely in relationship with Him. And He desires intimacy with me. As I draw near to Him, He draws near to me. I know only by experience. He and I can be close so long as I seek closeness. He is a personal God, but I can only know Him as a personal God as I draw near to Him.
* There is heaven. Our Spirits, renewed by Christ, long for it completely. We have a desire in us for an ultimate utopia- peace, a world without hate and destruction. We long for it from the very core of our beings.
* From the very core of me, I am junk. It doesn’t matter how well my mother raised me, I still have a monster that lives inside of me longing for everything my way and for the world to bow down and worship me. Laugh at my jokes. Think I am wonderful. No matter who suffers, all must think that I am wonderful. Push others down, kt, so that you can be built up! Drown them. No matter how hard I try to stifle it, without Christ, it comes out, pushing its way through the surface of existence. Crowding out charity and benevolence. There are moments when it rests, but not for long. My selfishness always resurfaces in varying degrees for varying lengths of time without Him. And as it is, if there is some sort of perfect world after this one is over, I can’t be there. I need a Redeemer.
* And, if Jesus really is God- if He really lived, died, and rose again from the dead, then He must hold the key to my redemption. If He beat death by dying and then living, then in Him is hope.
* And so the story is. I am covered over by the blood of One who overcame death. Why would I rejoice in His blood and death? But His resurrection follows! It is the symbol of the foreshadowing reality that He conquered the stuff in me that keeps me from perfection.

And something deep inside me calls out, “This God is more real than anything you have ever laid eyes on.”