My mother-in-law and I took my five and three-year-old to see Cinderella. After reading reviews and checking with friends who had seen it, I decided it was suitable. Honestly, the romance, charm, character development, theatrical costumes, sweeping soundtrack, superb acting (think Downton Abbey) and fitting simplicity of the story line will be grossly under-appreciated by most young children (including my own). It contains the expected themes – love, forgiveness, kindness, courage. But in one moment of brief suspense, when the stepmother was exhibiting her verbal cruelty to Cinderella, my five-year-old asked a question that prompted an answer that I’ve been deeply pondering every since.
She was sitting on my lap, her muscles tense. “Mommy, what’s going to happen?”
“Sweety,” I whispered with a smile. “I don’t know what the stepmother will do, but we already know how the story will end!”
Everyone who watches already knows how the story will end.
We all knew how the story would end. Everyone who watches already knows how it will end. I could tolerate the stepmother’s icy glares because I knew she would not prevail. More importantly, I knew Cinderella’s story would come to a glorious end, an end that was just the beginning.
“What happens to Cinderella in the end?” I pursued the issue while the stepmother ranted at Cinderella. Lil’ P relaxed and grinned. “She gets married.” From that point on, she had no further concerns. She knew how it would end.
This deep truth is one I did not expect to grab my attention during a ‘live action’ Cinderella. Hope. Once she found hope and believed the film would end as promised, it shaped my daughter’s perspective on the entire film. How much more so is this true of where we place our hope in life.
Jesus is the “better hope, through which we draw near to God.” For those who follow Jesus, this hope is a “sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.”* You know where this hope leads you. You know where the story ends – no more pain, no injustice, no more sorrow – and a great wedding feast with the Prince of Peace. This is the perspective that gives us the hope to endure the present and persevere to the end. This is the perspective my daughter is beginning to understand.
*excerpts from Hebrews 6