The famous emperor strutted his stuff in front of all the people in the land. His elegance was grand. His fashion impeccable. Everyone would see. Everyone would know.
He was without clothes.
A young child declared the state of things as he saw it and a ripple of truth went out throughout the crowds.
In the middle of his own parade, with all eyes on him, the Emperor came face to face with his own denial.
In this classic Hans Christian Anderson tale, when the tricksters began to show their imaginary cloths, each visitor professed what they new to be true. At first.
They saw nothing and told the tricksters so.
It wasn’t long before they took changed their minds. They began declaring the beauty of fabric which wasn’t there. Each person, including the Emperor himself, took it upon himself that he must be foolish and wrong when faced with what was clearly false, rather than hold on to reality.
With the cunning of deceit, a lie wove it’s way into belief.
The enemy is clever and he pretends to be beautiful. He shows us things we want to see and says they are ours for the taking.
When we put them on, we don’t even see the fact that we don’t see. They aren’t real and they hold no power to make us be who we want to be.
Denial works it’s way into our hearts and creates distorted mirrors for us to look into. It gets set like stone. If we don’t have a child-like faith profession to admit that what we think is grand really isn’t, we eventually end up strutting ourselves around foolishly, no matter how fine all might seem to be.
How about something altogether different?
There are many ways in which we can put on the robes of Christ instead. And they are truly rich and wonderful.
One of these is to remember we need his covering. One is to realize that we don’t have what it takes to make it on our own. Another, is to choose acceptance.
We can choose to accept things are what they are. We may not like it, but we must admit it's there.
We can choose to accept that things will not always be as they are now and trust what God sees ahead.
We can choose to accept what God says over the words of others and ourselves.
We can choose to put on the royal robes of redemption in our lives by seeking the work of the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes, we hear what we want to hear and let ourselves act based on what we wish were true rather than the way things really are. If we're facing a significant loss, a challenging relationship, a big change of some kind, and we carry on as if it weren't what it is, we can find ourselves lost in a beauty which doesn't hold up. We can miss that beauty held out for us by the one, true King.
Neglecting to accept what really is, instead of what we wish it was, can also hinder us from fully working out the pain, the fears, and the underlying hurts. It can keep us stuck. The yuck sticks somewhere.
Rather, during these times when we feel stuck and we are not sure what to do next, we can choose acceptance. In doing so, we can also wrestle honestly with God, and find the kind of beauty which covers thickly. His goodness in all things.
Choose acceptance and find the God who meets you in this place.
Lord, sometimes the things which are real are so hard to admit to. I want to say, just make it go away. Instead, I choose today to accept what is. I also choose to accept that you have more for me in this time than I currently know. Show me. Lead me. Quiet my unsteady heart when fears arise and help me find the beauty of being covered with you. Amen.