As a child, the Snow White fairy tale fascinated me beyond all the others. She had dark hair like me, which helped, probably. And I always hung on the words “hair as black as ebony, skin as white as snow, and lips as red as blood.” It sounded mysterious and elegant, and then there was that beautiful vibrato voice singing about whistling. (Okay, so maybe my singing skills aren’t quite as good as Snow White’s.)
Now I’ve grown up, and I know the difference between reality and fiction. I know that Walt Disney’s grand ideas of a cartoon movie realized in The Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was a visual creation inspired by the Brothers Grimm imaginative tale. Yet, the story has a universal appeal and is still popular. Indeed, my own children have taken pictures with the beautiful Snow White who first touched a page in 1812 and graced the movie screen in 1938.
Story is compelling and powerful because, I believe, it is of God. Certainly, story can be twisted to glorify ungodly things. But our hearts are drawn to and are moved by powerful, victorious tales. God wrote the most intense, powerful love saga known to humanity—and it is real. It has elements of flawed heroes, miraculous defeats of evil, dark setbacks, unexpected plot twists, and the gift of true, deep wisdom. We read of world-wide floods, adulterous and repentant kings, fortifying city walls falling down, a chosen people being exiled. But at the center of it all—The Pure, True Hero. Jesus came to earth. He taught using parables, stories. Not surprising. And He gave everyone so much hope. He loved and He healed and He taught and He forgave. Then, in what looked to human eyes like ultimate defeat, our last chance for salvation destroyed, Jesus Christ died on the cross. He was simply gone. Until, that is, He rose again claiming victory over death (epic twist!!), proving the possibility of life everlasting, and overwhelming all of humanity with His great love and grace.
Jesus, the Prince of Peace, can restore everything to its right order again. He said He is coming back for His bride, the Church. And so much of my hope is in that eternal reality that is the great finale, the happily ever after I can’t even imagine. He said He went away to prepare a place for us. God is clever, you know, when He writes down His story. He gives us glimpses of what is to come, but true clarity will come only as I gaze into my Savior’s perfect eyes. God doesn’t want to give away the best ending ever. He wants us to keep reading, to keep living, to keep on hoping and having faith in His ability to wrap up every loose end and resolve every conflict.
When I hear the song Snow White sings, I sing along and the melody gets stuck in my head. It is, after all, such a desire of my heart and a picture of part of my great hope.
Some day my prince will come
Some day we’ll meet again
And away to his castle we’ll go
To be happy forever I know
Some day when spring is here
We’ll find our love anew
And the birds will sing
And wedding bells will ring
Some day when my dreams come true*
It’s true that a prince doesn’t save a princess from a cursed eternal sleep very often in real life. But the most enduring and powerful stories are often rooted in a deeper truth. It is the deeper truth that makes them compelling. A prince saving a princess might not happen in real life, but I believe it will happen for me.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
While I hope for that day of being raised again to eternal life with my Prince of Peace, I am still playing out part of my story right now. And in all honesty, the hero of my story isn’t me. It’s Jesus. I’m the clichéd damsel in distress who needed a Savior, who couldn’t attain perfection on her own, who was utterly humbled by Jesus’ perfect love for a most undeserving me. I love Him so much. I want my story to sing His praises, because without Him, my life really would be nothing. What is your story? How has God moved in your life to draw you more deeply into His arms of love and grace? What other “characters” has God allowed to intersect with your story, and for what purpose? How has God’s forgiveness changed you? What is the happy ending you hope for?
So here is to embracing good stories and eating them up, oh fellow lovers of books and words and movies and plays. And here is to the Great Author of each one of our stories, and His incredible ability to weave our tales together with a central Perfect Hero. This is one story that will be so good I’ll hate for it to end, and thankfully, it never will.
*Someday My Prince Will Come, Frank Churchill and Larry Morey (composers)