Wednesday, June 2, 2010

the princess follows her thread

Have you read George MacDonald's The Princess and the Goblin? It was one of my favourite books as a child - and a great one to read with your kids, not least for the hidden messages about trust and obedience.

In the following passage, the princess follows a magic thread that her "great-great-grandmother" has said will always lead to her and safety, but which takes the princess into the dark passages at the heart of a mountain.

But presently she came to a huge heap of stones, piled in a slope against the wall of the cavern. On these she climbed, and soon recovered the level of the thread only however to find, the next moment, that it vanished through the heap of stones, and left her standing on it, with her face to the solid rock. For one terrible moment she felt as if her grandmother had forsaken her. ... She threw herself upon the heap, and began to cry. ... At length the thought struck her that at least she could follow the thread backwards, and thus get out of the mountain, and home. She rose at once, and found the thread. But the instant she tried to feel it backwards, it vanished from her touch. Forwards, it led her hand up to the heap of stones - backwards it seemed nowhere. ... She burst into a wailing cry, and again threw herself down on the stones.

In his talk Praying our Fears Tim Keller uses the princess's story as an illustration of obedience in the face of fear. When the princess follows her grandmother's thread, it leads her into dark places and she's tempted to go back; but when she tries to go back, the thread disappears.

When God calls us to obey, there are only 2 possible responses: obedience, which is hard; and disobedience, which is impossible. Obedience may seem to take us into danger, but backwards lies disaster: and so we face our fear and go forward.

That was just to whet your appetite! Tomorrow I'd like to follow up on last week's post and share what I learned from Tim Keller's talk on fear.

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