Stuck in life’s cinders?

Cinderella is a fairytale that has caused many young girls to hope one day a true prince will rescue them and give life a happily ever after ending. Cinderella is a tale of a kind and young girl, bound to a life of grueling servitude, sitting in the cinders of the fireplace, under the rule of a mean step mum and two inept and spoiled stepsisters. Beautiful Cinderella is finally rescued by a handsome and rich prince who gives her the life of a princess. Problem is, freedom was always there for Cinderella.

Cindy, why’d it take you so long?

A few versions of the Cinderella story exist: the original mild version by Charles Perrault which focuses on Cinderella’s kind nature, that she is totally in capable of being mean, or the Brothers Grimm more gruesome tale where the older stepsister cuts off her own heel to fit the prized glass slipper and the younger stepsister saws off her own toes to fit. One tale has Cinderella’s father alive but under complete control of his new wife, so he never rescues Cinderella. In the other rendering the father is unfortunately, dead. Similarities of the two tales lie in Cinderella being kindhearted and doing whatever is bid her, like a little puppy seeking his master’s approval. Aren’t we all like this – seeking approval, acceptance, pleasing others, and attention seeking before we meet the one true Prince?

We go through life, maybe physically pretty, maybe not, maybe in a difficult life situation, or maybe not have a materialistic need in the world, and yet our heart searches for someone to help, we’re lonely, depressed, anxious. We make jokes about our caffeine and sugar addictions, always striving for something, someone to fill that ache, that hole in our soul. Pascal said it well when he said, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every person, and it can never be filled by any created thing. It can only be filled by God, made known through Jesus Christ.” In Ecclesiastes 3:11 we read that God has set eternity in our hearts. We want to know him, although sometimes we aren’t aware that we want to.

 Cinderella’s days are full of grunge, dirt, and chores. The constant barrage of disparaging remarks and lack of any encouragement would leave even the strongest person anxious or depressed. But, Cinderella didn’t have to live that life. In Romans 1:18-21 we read that God has made plain to even the ungodly, what we can know about Him. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world; in the things that have been made so they are without excuse.  So, Cindy really had no reason to wallow in her self-imposed prison. God showed himself to her as he does to all of us, but she was too mired in her life circumstance she didn’t, couldn’t or wouldn’t look up see him. Sound familiar?

Anyways, in the story, it takes a royal celebration and a couple of fantastic magical things to happen before the prince comes to rescue her. We know the story of the pumpkin carriage and the rat footmen and the fancy dress and the midnight curfew and of course that little glass slipper that lost its mate in Cindy’s rush to get home before the whole evening’s fantasy crashed down and she was back in the cinders again.

Even still, when the Prince searches for his future bride; the beauty who stole his heart and lost her shoe, and her family hides her away, Cindy really had every opportunity to step up and be courageous. (Joshua 1:9 be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.)  A sound, a cough and knock on a wall, something to reveal her presence was all that was needed.

Our own lives are sometimes sad, sometimes dangerous situations present themselves, and we may feel adrift in a stormy sea. But, Jesus, once seen, lovingly welcomes us. We are free to accept the gift of grace which is eternal. He is right there with us. He has promised he will never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5 – be satisfied with what you have, for God has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you”). EVER. (John 10:29 and no one can snatch them out of the Father’s hand.) He wants us to have a full and abundant life! (John 10:10) He died for that! (Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.)

But, Cindy, poor little Cindy, just sitting and waiting for the Prince to finally notice the glass slipper didn’t actually fit not just one sister but two, (I tend to think the blood from the heel and severed toes would be a giveaway, although why he didn’t notice it immediately, just shows that even the most important folks are sometimes not the smartest or most observant,)  before she had a go at the slipper and of course it was a perfect fit. She becomes His bride. And a Princess. Happy Ending.

We don’t have to cut off any part of any appendage to be Jesus’ bride. We don’t have to be born of the right station or have the right job or live in the right country. We don’t have to be the most beautiful, or the favorite anything. Our prince (Jesus) willingly gave his life because of God’s great love for us and desire to be with us as we once were. (John 3:16 God loved us so much he gave his one and only son to die for us so that we should not perish but have eternal life). We as believers are Christ’s bride. Ephesians 5 so well compares our marriage relationship here on earth with the one final relationship we will have in our eternal home.

If you are living the self–imposed prison life of our Cindy, be it physically, emotionally, or spiritually, then don’t wait for a flesh and blood prince to come rescue you.  The Bible says he’s already here; his name is Jesus, and he is waiting for you, all you have to do is say yes.

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