Once upon a time, a sad girl lived in a dark, dreary land. As far as the eye could see, the land was gray. No colorful flowers danced in the breeze. There were no trees or sunshine, just bleak gray clouds and barren fields of dirt. There were many people but no one was happy.
The mean ruler of the Land of Darkness kept all the people chained in irons, wrist to wrist and foot to foot. If anyone tried to escape, they would only fall, entangled in the shackles binding them.
The sad girl always wondered what was just beyond the boundary of the Land of Darkness but chained as she was, she feared she would never know. Still, each day she wondered if there wasn’t something more than the gray, miserable kingdom she lived in. Every day was the same. Empty. Hopeless. Gray.
One morning, the girl lifted her head from the pile of dust she lay in, the distant thrum of pounding hooves shaking the earth beneath her. Standing to her feet, she squinted, seeing a rider drawing closer on horseback. He was unlike anyone she’d ever beheld.
This stranger sat tall and strong in the gleaming saddle of his white horse. Colorful sashes of crimson and purple adorned his steed. This man was not from the Land of Darkness. He was beautiful, full of brilliant light. A glittering crown sat upon his head. This was no mere man. Surely this must be a king.
His eyes roved over the field filled with hopeless, dirty people. The girl cowered in shame, embarrassed by her filth and ragged clothes.
Suddenly, the King’s eyes collided with hers. Smiling gently, he held out his hand. “Come, little one. I want you for my daughter.”
The sad girl was astounded. She couldn’t breathe, shocked that a King so majestic and powerful would choose her. Before she could utter a word, the evil ruler of the Land of Darkness heard the commotion and came running from his shadowed tower, snarling at the King from the unknown land.
The King studied the evil ruler before his gaze flickered back to the girl. “Let me pay for her crimes instead. I will pay whatever debt she owes if, in return, you let her go free.”
Her hopes dashed, the sad little girl cried. With all the wrong she’d done, the kind King would be unwilling to pay the debt. Her crimes were too great, too terrible for such a gesture.
To her horror and dismay, the mean ruler began to tell the majestic King all of her crimes. She dropped her head in disgrace as the mean ruler took sick delight in proclaiming her failures. Shame burned her from the inside out.
The evil ruler grinned, his eyes glinting like shards of glass. “If you still want such a wicked wretch for a daughter, the price is life for life. That is my demand.”
The King nodded. “It will be done.”
The evil ruler was delighted, cruel as he was, and called his soldiers to beat the King with whips. The lashes cut deep. As the King cried out in pain, blood soaked his shredded back. The girl was helpless to do anything but weep into her hands. She knew the evil ruler of the Land of Darkness. He would not stop until he had killed the beautiful King.
The beating seemed to go on for hours, each scream of agony more terrible than the last. Then the world grew silent. The King lay still in the crimson-pooled dust. The girl knew he was dead and she sobbed, her heart broken for all he’d suffered for she knew wasn’t worth the price the evil ruler had demanded.
The horrid man loomed over her, his eyes narrow, hissing through his teeth. “See what your wickedness has done, you worthless girl? Your sin was too great. It killed this King and you’ll forever be my prisoner.”
But then, something amazing happened. The King slowly opened his eyes. Pushing up from the dust, he slowly stood to his feet. The sad girl’s heart leaped for joy. He wasn’t dead any longer! She trembled to see that where the deep lashes of the whip had cut his back, there were now only scars.
The King faced the evil ruler. “It is done, as you have demanded. Life for life. She is now mine if she chooses to come with me.”
“Do you trust me?”
The little girl nodded, her heart bursting, overwhelmed that this King would pay so great a debt to free her.
She reached out and placed her small hand in his, noting how the bumpy scars that marred his once perfect skin felt so strong and tight as He grasped her fingers.
The King placed a royal robe around her shoulders. With his own hands, he wiped the grime from her face and placed a glittering crown atop her head. Pulling her onto his horse, the great King carried her away from the Land of Darkness and declared the girl to be his daughter, the princess of the Kingdom of Light and his heir.
Likewise, the once sad girl found true joy with the great King. He became the daddy she had always longed for. His unconditional love gave her joy and freedom that she’d never known.
They lived happily ever after.
One thing I forgot to mention—this story isn’t really a fairy tale at all. It’s truth. I know because it happened to me. If you’ve been redeemed, this is your story as well.
Embrace this jaw-dropping truth tightly around your mind, Little Girl from the Land of Gray. Wrap it around your head like a tiara. You are loved. You are redeemed. You are the adopted daughter of the King. You are wanted. You are His.
Let Him transform your life. Live. You are free, ransomed from the Land of Gray and carried into the Kingdom of Light.
“He has delivered us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son…” ~Colossians 1:13