Sometimes God sends the messages I need in the simplest packages. Recently one came in the wrapping of my little sister’s Jesus Storybook Bible. I found the book laying on the dining table one morning and after breakfast picked it up and flicked through it. I ended up sitting/laying on the couch reading it for much of the morning (cuddling my bunnies and drinking coffee too :P). I was having a fatigued and in pain day and needed to rest, and this wasn’t a bad way to do it. It is the sweetest book and brings comforting reminders of truth in such simple and sweet ways. And this day, it gave me reminders of truths that I had forgotten, precious truths that my aching weary heart needs.
I do not know if it is the same for you, but for me, there are some truths and themes that God seems to emphasize in my life over and over again. In my life, it is the theme of God’s love, His great rescue plan, His epic love story, and the fact that my life is part of that. And guess what? That is the theme that runs through this sweet little Jesus Bible.
You see, God is writing an epic love story and we are all characters in it.
God is the King. Without Christ, you and I are damsels in distress- lost, broken, destitute, imprisoned in a dungeon, enslaved by a wicked Dragon, without hope of escape. The Devil is the evil Dragon, a black-hearted villain of the worst sort. And Jesus Christ is the Prince, our Rescuer, our Hero.
God created a perfect world, a Kingdom of pure Light and Love. A Kingdom where the people He created enjoyed unhindered intimate fellowship with Him everyday. The man and woman He made knew nothing but love and joy in closeness with their King.
But something went horribly wrong. A serpent (kind of like a dragon! :P) planted doubt of God in the man and woman’s hearts. He lied to them, tempting them to believe that God was withholding something good from them. He tempted them to believe that they had to do something (eat the fruit) to be something (like God), and that they needed to be something more than what they already were as dearly loved children of the King. I wonder if, for the first time, they doubted whether their Father truly loved them. They listened to the serpent and disobeyed God, and things would never be the same. The man and woman were now prisoners and slaves in the Dragon’s Kingdom of Darkness, lost and separated from their beloved Father and King. When God came looking for them, they tried to hide themselves in fear and shame. God sent them away from the garden, but not before He had clothed them in the skin of a lamb and promised them that one day He would send a Rescuer who would defeat the Dragon and save them from the horrible brokenness of sin (you can read about it in Genesis chapter 3).
The love of our King is radically deep, unending, never changing, eternal, relentless, and infinitely indescribably precious.
He could not, would not let His precious people remain prisoners of the Dragon. He loved us too much. Before the beginning of time, He knew this tragedy would happen, and together with His Son formed a plan to rescue His lost children.
Through history, the King gave us clues about the Rescuer whom He would one day send. He delivered His people from slavery in Egypt, to demonstrate for them the deliverance that would come through His Son. He gave them His law, to show them that they could never be good enough for Him in and of themselves or rescue themselves. He sent prophet after prophet to tell His lost children how far away from Him they were, how much He loved them, to call them back to Himself, and to tell them of the Rescuer that was coming.
At last, after centuries of waiting, He came. But He didn’t come as a conquering Prince or Knight in Shining Armour as the people expected. He came as a humble servant. He shared our brokenness. He carried our sorrows. He bore our sins. He gave His life dying on a cross. He experienced the agony of the darkness of separation from His Father that we experience in that dungeon. In the midst of terrible agony, when He could have called an army of angels to rescue Him, His love held Him there.
It cost Him everything, but because of His love, He would stop at nothing to rescue His beloved (Jn 3:16).
But that is not the end of the story! He rose from the dead and defeated the Dragon, just like God said He would. He made a way for the door of the dungeon to swing open and a way for us to pass from the Kingdom of Darkness into the Kingdom of Light, to be adopted as daughters of the King – princesses – (1 Pet 2:9) and for us to live someday with Him in the palace of the King. He has gone away to prepare a place for us there (Jn 14:1-2).
And someday He’ll return. He promised. This time, He will come, as it were, as a Knight in Shining Armour riding a white horse. He will bring us home to be with Him and with our Father the King where we’ll dwell happily ever after forever.
Even though we are daughters of the King, we still live in a broken world. We’re not home yet. Broken people do broken things and leave broken hearts. Broken things happen that leave deep wounds and scars. The Dragon prowls around. We get scared. We forget what our King has done for us and who we are in Him. We run from the One who holds our life, who is the Answer to all our needs. We hide in shame. Often the darkness is of no fault of ours- it finds us. But the Dragon tempts us to believe that it is our fault. We’re afraid that we’re a burden, and that no one could really love us- at least, not that much. We go back to the dungeon and sit in the dark listening to the Dragon’s lies. We’re still daughters of the King, but we find ourselves trapped believing that there’s no way out.
The Dragon whispers to me, “Look how messed up you are. See all you’ve gone through. Your life is so hard. Look at the things you’ve done wrong. You’re a burden and a failure. You’re unlovable. Your life doesn’t matter. You’re a disappointment. Your family is disappointed in you. Your church family and friends are disappointed in you. You’re disappointed in yourself. Even God is disappointed in you. He’s mad at you. He doesn’t really love you.” But that’s not true. It’s just simply not true.
I have noticed that when the Dragon, Satan, attacks in my life, he aims for two things: God’s identity, and my identity in Christ. His goal is enticing me to believe lies about who God is and who I am in Him, because if He can succeed in that, He can cripple me spiritually, and if he can cripple me spiritually, he can cripple every other area of my life. I am no longer a hopeless destitute damsel in distress. There has been a rescue. I have been brought out of the Kingdom of Darkness, picked up and placed into the Kingdom of Light.
I have been given a new life, a new identity, a new hope, a new purpose and reason to live, and best of all, a new relationship with my adopted Father the King,
and His Son the Prince whom He has also given me. Old things have passed away. All things have become new (2 Cor 5:17). He has poured out on me spiritual blessings above and beyond all I could ask or think. He has given me all that He is and has to demonstrate His radically deep and eternal love for me. He has brought me to live with Him in the palace as His adopted daughter and princess.
But sometimes I forget. Sometimes the brokenness in me and around me can leave me feeling trapped and hopeless.
But there is a way out. It is the same way we were rescued the first time. In a recent dark dungeon, Jesus has whispered to me again and again, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man comes to the Father but by Me” (Jn 14:6). “The Thief (Dragon) comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). It’s as though He’s saying, “Sweet daughter, I love you. I never intended things to be like this. I came to rescue you. I Am the Way out of here. Stop trying to get out on your own. You can’t do it. Stop listening to the lies of the Enemy. He has been defeated and has no legal hold over you. Listen to Me. Put your trust only in Me.”
I am learning that it’s a matter of what will I choose to believe?
I can choose to listen to the lies of the Dragon that keep me bound in fear and shame, or I can choose to listen to the truth and promises of my Beloved and find life, freedom, and love in Him. If I’ve done wrong and given the Enemy a foothold in my soul, I need to come to my Father and Rescuer and confess the sin and repent (turn away) from it (1 Jn 1:9). My external circumstances may not change. I may not even feel the presence and love of my King. But something does change inside me. Instead of fear, peace. Instead of depression, joy. Instead of discouragement, courage. Instead of despair, hope. Instead of darkness, light.
We look not at what is seen, but what is unseen. What is seen is temporal, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Cor 4:18). The brokenness and pain that we experience here is only temporary. But the love of our Beloved and the home that He is preparing for us is eternal.
Instead of running away from my Heavenly Father, I can trust His love and run into His arms.
The Dragon is a defeated liar and going to Hell. In my Beloved I am safe. In Him I can rest knowing that it will all be okay.
Because of His grace, you can too.
With love, ❤