Do you know which movie I sat and watched a few weekends ago?
I watched ‘Cinderella’.
Before you laugh (or judge me), I would like to defend myself.
I needed a little magic in my life.
Okay, that wasn’t the best defense. You can laugh.
But! I realized I did not really know the story too well.
For example, I had no idea that Cinderella was actually ‘Cinder-Ella’, a nickname the stepsisters came up with because Ella was covered in ashes.
All this time, I thought Cinderella was a beautiful name. All my life, I assumed Cinderella was synonym with beauty. Instead, I lived a big lie.
Cinder is basically any residue of combustion aka ashes, anything that’s burned up. So how did I think what I thought? Because I always looked at the scene where she dresses up for the ball and then the final scene where she marries the prince. I forgot there were scenes in between where she was covered in ash, forgot this girl had to do normal household chores like cleaning the house, doing the dishes and cooking food. She slept on a hardwood floor near the fire to keep warm when the cinder got all over her. Interesting, isn’t it? Her life was a total mess – her father and mother died. She lived with her mean stepmother and stepsisters. Life was unfair to her.
So how did this story become a timeless fairy tale? How did ashes turn into beauty? Is it even possible?
In this fairy tale, it was. All they needed was a fairy godmother who could turn anything into anything. Can you believe that? I did for 2 hours. And then reality hit where fairy godmothers don’t exist.
But do you know there is one greater who actually can turn ashes into beauty? Yep, it is true. There is a God who exists and He can transform Cinder-Ella(s) to Cinderellas! Pumpkins to stallions! Lizards to coachmen! And dirty slippers to shiny glass slippers! Not literally. But you know what I mean! Our God can change everything into something GOOD. Yes, it says so in His word.
Another part of the story I got stuck on was when the prince came to find her, she came down the stairs just the way she was. Nothing much to look at – simple Ella. While the prince waited eagerly, and Ella was walking towards prince, the narrator said something profound.
‘Who she was, who she really was would be enough. There was no magic to help her this time. This was perhaps the greatest risk that any of us will take – to be seen as we truly are.’
I couldn’t stop thinking how God sees me just the way I am. No make-up or the best clothes on. Cinder and all. Just me. And He doesn’t turn away. He doesn’t flinch. The Prince of Peace. The King of Kings. Waiting eagerly for me to say ‘yes’. He comes for me and rescues me. Then He makes me His bride and now I have a new name. A new life begins with Him as the world looks on in wonder.
Isn’t this a beautiful story? And the best part? It is our story!
I don’t need no fairy godmothers. I got Jesus.
to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:3
and in the presence of his associates and the army of Samaria, he said, “What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?” Nehemiah 4:2
… the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God. Nehemiah 5:15-16