Monday, June 18, 2012

Lessons from Quest for Celestia: You're Beautiful

Last week I painted a scene for you from Steven James’ book Quest for Celestia, the story of two travelers headed to the city of the noble king. I could “paint” for you a whole art gallery of scenes from the book, and give you the principles I learned from them. But I encourage you to discover these lessons for yourself and enjoy the adventure that Kadin and Leira took to Celestia, experiencing their fears and joys and sharing their victories.

The last scene I want to paint for you centers on Leira, Kadin’s companion on the journey. But let me give you a little background on her first. The first time Kadin met Leira, he was in danger. They both were. A servant of the evil baron had convinced Kadin to leave the path to Celestia and seek refuge in the baron’s castle. Just when Kadin was ready to follow him, Leira called to him from some underbrush, warning him not to go. When he saw her, he thought she was lovely, except for the bruises that covered her face. Later he learned that the evil baron had captured her, locked her up in his dungeon, and allowed his guards to abuse her. She had managed to escape, and fate, it would seem, brought Kadin and Leira together. They needed each other, not just to survive the danger, but to be each other’s friend at a time when few were leaving everything to find Celestia.   

The dream Leira had on the journey taught me something beautiful. She dreamt she was invited by the prince himself to come to a grand dance at his castle. One of his servants took her to a room filled with beautiful dresses, fit for a princess, and told her to choose one. She selected a gorgeous silk dress and tried it on—the perfect fit. However, when she looked in the mirror, she only saw the bruises on her face. The dress didn’t matter. Shortly after she met Kadin, healing water had erased the bruises, but now they were back.

Leira wouldn’t leave the room. The servant called for her to come—the prince was waiting. But she didn’t want him to see her like this. Finally, someone came to the door. It was the prince. When he entered, Leira hid her face and fell to the floor. She told him she couldn’t come, not looking like she did. He helped her up and looked into her face, brushing the tears from her eyes. He said, “I see only beauty.” Leira turned to look in the mirror, and the bruises weren’t there anymore! She could see herself as the prince did, beautiful and transformed.*

Different things affect the way we see ourselves—people’s opinions, our own struggles and trials, our past regrets, and what other people have done to us. If we could look in a mirror and see our hearts, we may see damage that's been caused by ourselves and others. But when the Prince takes us in His arms and holds us close, we can be healed of past wounds. When we believe in Jesus as our Savior, He takes our sins and exchanges them for His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). When the heavenly Father looks at us, He doesn’t see a face covered in bruises, but a heart that’s been rescued by the Savior. God sees us “in Christ,” redeemed from our sin, no longer under condemnation (Romans 8:1).

Jesus also works in our lives so that we experience His healing on a practical level—in our perspectives, our attitudes, our words, and our actions. When God looks at us, He may see the hurts, but He also sees the beauty that’s blooming in our souls.

Have you experienced God’s healing? How do you see yourself? Do you see only “bruises”? Or do you see the beauty that you have because Christ lives in you, and because He is working in your heart to make you whole and sound on the inside? You’re beautiful, Beloved. Your Prince says so.

Check out Quest for Celestia! Available through amazon.com


 

*Steven James, Quest for Celestia (Chattanooga, TN: Living Ink Books, 2012), page 189.

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