The fact is, however, no matter what girlish knight-in-shining-armor fantasies I hold, I am adored, cherished, loved with a love that knows no bounds. What's more, to beat any fairytale, I am adored by a king--and not just any king, the King of kings. This was quite a shock for me to realize, and it was only through my habit of motive analysis and experience at discovering what is expected of me that I found that His only motive was merely pure, unabashed, and untainted love.
It took me some time to sift through the facts, but what captured my heart was nothing more than the simple rescue of a damsel in the very great distress of being chained in a filthy cage, helplessly forging link after link of her own chain, driven onward by the whispered lies of a wretched beast, doomed to death. However, His love is so pure that there was nothing in my utterly depraved state that revolted this King. No, indeed, He left His throne behind, forsook all the elements and trappings of Royalty, and came to me as a measly peasant. He did not muster all the forces at His command, charging into the lair of the whispering beast, armor blazing and sword held aloft. No, he quite simply lifted me out of my prison, washed me, placed my chains around Himself, and surrendered His life in my place. He stepped into my filth and decay so that I could have life, and have it abundantly.
More than that, He conquered death, rising again on the third day after His execution and placing a boundary around the beast himself--the jailer now jailed. Oh, this beast has quite a romp, for a time enjoying ownership of the area he has staked out, whispering his nonsense and cackling with glee as those under his dominion add link after link to their chains. He throws his might into recapturing those who were woken from his spell and now pick their way through his principality, proclaiming the news of freedom to other prisoners and stubbornly remaining free. But his guile is confined and limited and he romps on borrowed time in his stolen land, for someday my King will come again, this time in full glory, shining like the sun and sword at the ready to reclaim the territory that is rightfully His.
It still makes me shudder to think what He did, and more so to realize how often I would crawl back behind my bars and begin to work on the chain again even after He set me free. But I was free, and I am now free; gradually making my way farther from that cage and finding kinship with other former captives. As I travel toward His kingdom, it is my hope that I can share the truth of His sacrifice with others who still listen to the father of lies as they forge endless links of unnecessary chains; for it was not only for me that He gave Himself up, but for all of humankind. It is now that the choice lies with us. We can accept the freedom He offers, or we can choose to sit and drink in the beast's deceit.
Either way, our path is not easy, for if we choose to follow the King who freed us, we willingly enter His war against the monster and his monstrous cunning. If we turn away from the proffered freedom, we choose to remain slaves to relentless effort without hope. The creature has set himself against the King and will do all in his power to reclaim us or render us ineffective, and he will strive to keep the prisoners unaware that the links they are bound in have been broken. He will practice trickery and deceit, and he is a master at it. However, we know also that our King has sent us an emissary of His Kingdom, the Comforter, to be with us in this battle and to teach us how to fight the fight of love. This is the seal of His love in our hearts and cannot be removed, and it is this Spirit of truth that will carry us through if only we will surrender our whole hearts to Him. It is true that either path holds pain, but while one path leads through the Valley of the Shadow of Death with the Comforter as your guide, the other path ends within that Valley, utterly alone.
As it turns out, in all my sorting, searching, and picking apart, I did find an expectation that my King has of me. What He expects of me--or of any of us--in return for His act of love and rescue is that we give ourselves wholly in love to Him, holding nothing back. He asks only pure and untainted love in return for His love. Love is His singular motive. Even now, and perhaps for the rest of this earthly part of my life, I will strive to throw off the shackles of my former prison and utterly embrace Love. It is my prayer that you will join me, and let us all together make the love of our Savior and King a lifestyle; every day, in every way marveling at the wonder and splendor of it and surrendering ourselves to Him so that He can use us in His great redemption plan for all people, nations, and tongues. This is the love I celebrate today, tomorrow, and always.