You know the story – The beautiful princess wandered idly through the castle and then pricked her finger on a poisoned spinning wheel. The poison had been intended to kill her, but the protection of the Good Fairy’s spell saved her – she could not die, but she did fall asleep – for a very very long time…
Sometimes you see something like this happen to the faith of someone dear to you. They get touched by some kind of poison, perhaps disappointment, or hurt or rejection or grief or pain, and it sends them deep into a kind of spiritual sleep.
Often the spinning wheel they pricked their finger on was the church itself- something that someone did, or said, or didn’t say or didn’t do. And when someone feels let down by God or his people, it can cause them to withdraw, carrying their injured heart to the safety of the highest tower of the castle, to bolt all the doors and to allow the forest to grow around.
Of course the castle that made you feel safe for a while can become your prison, and after a few months or years of letting the dust settle and the forest grow it might seem impossible that anyone could ever reach you again. Isolation from the people of God isn’t actually all that good for us, much less turning our face away from God himself.
I’m not one for reading the last chapter of a book before you’ve read the rest, but in this case it’s good to know the end of the story:
Even after 100 years of growing thorns and gathering dust, a Prince comes.
Not only does he have the means to cut through the thorns and brambles, but also the will and determination to do it. Love compels Him. The Prince is able to make it through to the highest room in the tallest tower, or wherever else the princess has gone to hide, and stands on the threshold, waiting to be invited in.
And this is the point where the story in my head strays away from the one in the movie.
For the Prince of Peace waits on the threshold for an invitation. He is ready to come and breathe new life into the soul of the one who has been sleeping, to heal the old injury that led to their hibernation, but he seems to wait to be asked.
If you hear something of yourself in this story, today is a good day to respond…
If you wonder how God could ever find you again through the doors you’ve locked and forest you’ve allowed to flourish, know that He can. He already has. He is just outside the door, waiting to hear you whisper his name.
If you are frightened by the thought of trusting, of trying to belong, of being hurt again, I understand. But the people of God need you, and you need them. It may take enormous courage, but it’s time, and you will have a Prince by your side.
Perhaps you have watched as someone you love has withdrawn from faith. Keep praying my friend. The pilot light is probably still lit, and just one breath from God can make their Spirit roar into life again. Until then, your friendship is a gift in itself.