I love fairytales. I believe they strike a chord deep in our imaginations that reminds our hearts to hope for a better reality than this world has to offer. They inspire us to dream. They teach us to hope. They encourage us to believe that good will always win.
Cinderella is the quintessential fairy tale: A girl with nothing endures her hardships with kindness, grace, and patience. In the end, she is rescued from her less than ideal circumstances and blessed with riches beyond her dreams and a prince who is as charming as he is handsome. And they live happily ever after. Cue the joyful tears and roll the credits.
While fairytales do pull me from my reality for a moment and inspire me, when I must leave their dreamworld, I often return discouraged and a cynic. I roll my eyes because Cinderella stories rarely happen in the real world.
Then I remember the gospel.
Echoes of the gospel pulsate in all the stories we tell because redemption lives in the heart of all great stories.
Cinderella could not catch a break—just as she thought things were looking up, something happened to destroy any hope she might have had to be happy. But then when she least expected it, she was rescued. She was redeemed out of her hopeless life and given new life—a life beyond her wildest dreams. That’s the gospel.
We are dead in our sins—trapped and enslaved with no hope of escape on our own. Then God shows up. Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, He rescues us. We are no longer hopeless. We have hope in Him and a new life that is beyond what we could even begin to comprehend. That is the beautiful reality the gospel gives those in Christ.
But then when I really meditate on the beauty that is the gospel, Romans 5:6–8 comes to mind:
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
And in light of those verses, when I think about Cinderella, I can no longer identify with her. She was nothing but beautiful and kind and patient in spite of her many trials—what prince wouldn’t love that?
That’s not me. But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. I’m the ugly step-sister.
Can you imagine if the prince had chosen one of the ugly step-sisters over Cinderella? Our hearts wold cry out in outrage! That’s not right! How could he love that thing who has nothing but selfishness to recommend her. No talent. No beauty. Nothing. In fact she wouldn’t even really love him—only what he could give her. No one would want to hear that story retold time and time again.
But on a much grander scale, that is exactly what God did with me. That’s real redemption. That’s the unbelievable, jaw-dropping beauty of the gospel.
God chose me at my worst, and gave me His best.
And now in Christ I’m a new creation. In Christ I can be Cinderella—kind and patient and gentle and beautiful—in a world that is never kind. But I have it even better than Cinderella because while I’m enduring the hardships that come my way, I have hope.
I know in whom I have believed. and I know He is faithful. He will grant me joy and peace in the midst of trials and grace in the good times to remember that they are only a glimmer of what is to come. He is moment by moment bringing me ever closer to my ultimate happily ever after.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5, ESV)