.... in a land not far from here, there lived a little princess named Disobea . She lived in a great castle with her Father, the King. She was loved by her Father, who fulfilled her every desire. She never had a want or need. One thing her Father had cautioned her not to do.
"Daughter," He had said to her, "never venture in to the valley. It is a place where my children must never go."
The princess Disobea loved her father and her life in the castle, but she was a curious princess. One day, she was walking through her gardens when her eye fell to the valley in the east, the very valley her Father had told her about.
Now Disobea never meant to go against her Father, but she convinced herself that it "wouldn't hurt to go down for just a minute." Swiftly and quietly, she made her way out of the garden and down toward the valley.
No sooner had she stepped foot in the valley when a great number of people jumped from the bushes and captured her , tying her hands behind her back. Glancing around, she saw the people's faces looked hard and cruel. Shivering, but still trying to keep the dignity of a princess, Disobea lifted her head and said to the crowd,
"Who are you? What do you want with me?"
One man spoke up. "We are the people of Badden. And, as for you, you are to be our slave."
"Slave!?" cried the princess, indignant. "Why, what have I ever done to you?"
"The child doesn't know a thing!" one woman said. "Girl, anyone who comes down here joins us. If we train you well, maybe you'll get to be a part of our society some day."
In the beginning, Disobea was appalled by the ways of Badden and its people. They thought, spoke and did evil things. Anyone who would be considered low in the castle, such as thieves or murders, would be considered acceptable in Badden. And anything good or noble to her Father, such as love or kindness, would be considered a sissy deed in Badden. Although Badden shocked Disobea at first, eventually she got used to it. Bad became good and good became bad. She began to see things the same as the other people and do the things they did.
Still, in the back of her hard heart, there was a tiny piece of what she used to be. A tiny piece that was still a princess. Discontented and sad at the life she now led, Disobea cried and called out to her Father. Her Father, nearby in the woods heard her cries and rushed to her.
"I am here, my daughter," he said.
" Oh, Father, it is horrible here. I am sorry for disobeying you. I am sorry for who I am. Can't you take me back with you?"
"Not yet, my daughter. But there will come a day when I come for you. This could not be without Sacrif. Do you remember him?"
"Yes, he was your son. Not my brother, not like me. He was your second-in-command. He was just like you in every way."
"Right. Did you know that he came down into the valley, not from curiosity, for there is none in him. He came knowing what it was like, in order to make the way for others. When he came, he would not become like the people of Badden. He was perfect in every way. The people of Badden could not accept that. They killed him for something he never did. But that was not the end. He came up from the grave and will rule with me forever. Were it not for his sacrifice, you could never come to me or talk to me, for I can have none of Badden around me. But since he gave himself, you are pardoned."
"Wow, Father. He did that for me?"
"Father, this is wonderful, but what do I do now? I don't want to live like the people of Badden until you come for me."
"There are a few things you can do. First, speak to me. Though you may not see me, I am there and I will answer."
"How will you answer?"
"Not always through words, but sometimes through people or signs I will give you. Also through these."
"Yes, here they are. They are letters I have written to you. They tell of my love for you and give advice for the problems you will face."
"Thank you, my Father."
"You are welcome, daughter. I love you and I will continue to forever."
"I love you in my heart of hearts."
"One last piece of instruction: tell others in Badden about me. I will come for you one day, but I can only come for those who call out to me as you did. Tell them about me, your Father and theirs, for they are all truly my children."
"I will, Father. But are you going away?"
"Yes. I must leave now, but I will come again. And remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Now you may recognize this story. It is a true story told a little differently. In this tale, Disobea ( or disobedient) represents you and me, children of God who have stepped down from his castle of goodness. Sacrif (or sacrificial) represents Jesus, who gave his life for you and me. The people of Badden are the people of this world who are children of the King, but don't know it yet. Just like the princess, it is our job to tell those people about their Father, the King.
In His name,
Matthew 28: 30
I am with you always, even to the end of the age.