By Janelle Gaudet
In John 14:5-6, Jesus and the disciples are gathered for what will become known as the Last Supper. They are rightfully worried about their uncertain present and future. While they eat, Jesus speaks words of prophecy and comfort to them.
Thomas speaks up and asks the question on everyone’s mind, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Centuries later, Scottish poet and minister George MacDonald grappled with this same question. Where can we find security in times of uncertainty? How can we know the right paths to take and choices to make? These thoughts influenced him as wrote the fantasy novel The Princess and the Goblin.
In MacDonald's story, Princess Irene and her father, the king, live in a mountainous realm that is threatened by sinister goblins. Frightened and unequipped to meet this challenge, Irene looks for support and help. Through magic and providence, Irene meets her grandmother who gives her a special ring to help her on her quest. The ring is connected to a peculiar ball of thread that was hand spun by the elderly woman.
Irene is concerned that she cannot see the thread attached to the ring. Her grandmother assures her that it is too fine for her to see. When Irene then questions the purpose of the ring and thread, her grandmother replies, “If ever you find yourself in any danger… you must take off your ring… Then you must lay your finger, the same that wore the ring, upon the thread, and follow the thread wherever it leads you.”
“Oh, how delightful! It will lead me to you, Grandmother, I know!”
“Yes. But, remember, it may seem to you a very roundabout way indeed, and you must not doubt the thread. Of one thing you may be sure, that while you hold it, I hold it too.”
Irene ends up deep underground in the lair of the Goblin King. Darkness envelopes the young princess, and despair overwhelms her. Unable to protect herself, she uses her ring and follows the thread to safety. The goblins’ evil plans are thwarted. The reader is relieved as good triumphs over evil once again.
The Rev. George MacDonald knew that we all walk through seasons for which we are ill-equipped and unable to protect ourselves.
Friends, there is good news - we have powerful help at hand. We may not necessarily be able to see what Jesus is doing around us and in us, but He is there. We need only to take off our self-sufficiency and reach out to Him.
The same thread of salvation that we follow through the story of the Bible runs through our lives as well. The way may seem very roundabout indeed, but Jesus is bigger than our doubts and fears. While we hold onto Him, He is holding us.