He showed her the exquisite white Faith flower. He let her climb up into the sturdy strong limbs of the Truth Tree. The lilac blooms of the Repentance and Confession bush were beautiful. Yet her favorite flower was the brilliant red of the Forgiveness flower.
One day as she pirouetted the Princess, now a teenager, noticed the white stone wall. “What is beyond the wall?” she asked the Master Gardner.
The Master Gardner was quiet and did not answer, for He knew the Princess had to make her own choice.
The next day she ran to the stone wall and tried to climb to the top. Just as she neared the top, she heard a whisper, “Come and see the world, Princess!”
The Princess drew back, afraid. She did not know the voice. “Who are you?” she asked.
“A friend who wants to give you a lovely adventure.”
The Princess quivered with excitement. An adventure? No, he said a “lovely adventure”. Surely that would be more fun than staying in the garden where she knew every bush and every flower and every creature. She was filled with curiosity and longing for something new.
How could she get out of the garden? Days passed, and one day she heard a beautiful song beyond the walls. The song floated in the air across the white stone wall.
The Princess looked at the wall where the song seemed the loudest. “I see how I can go over the wall, the Golden Bell tree’s branches grow over the white stone wall.”
With that, the Princess raced to the tree and began climbing. When she reached the branch she stopped and looked back at the garden where she grew up. “Maybe I shouldn’t do this, but the song is so beautiful, I will just look over the white stone wall. That will be enough.”
The Princess peered over the wall and she could see green fields and purple mountains. “I wonder where the flowers are? I don’t see any flowers. That is odd.”
Day after day the Princess climbed the Golden Bell tree just to look over the white stone wall. She loved the sound of the bell-like blooms in the slight breeze. Day after day she listened to the song that beckoned her to explore the world beyond the Beautiful Garden.
One day the song sounded so clear that the Princess couldn’t resist any more. She climbed the Golden Bell Tree and crawled to the limb that hung over the wall. The limb began to bend, and soon the Princess dropped to the ground over the wall. She shrieked a little ‘princess’ shriek as she landed. She stood up and brushed off the dirt. A Princess can not be dirty. Everyone knows that.
She looked all around. There were hills and valleys. The sun didn’t shine as brightly as it did inside the The Garden. There was a huge tree, larger than any tree in the Beautiful Garden, in the distance like none that the Princess ever saw before. She walked toward it and as she did, she saw a movement behind the tree. “I wonder what is hiding behind the tree. Maybe it is a deer.”
But it wasn’t a deer, it wasn’t a rabbit, it wasn’t an animal at all. It was an Evil One that spoke in growls and snarls. Before the Princess could run away, the Evil One grabbed the Princess and held her tight. “Now I have you, my pretty one,” he snarled.
The Evil One took her away to a place far away and put her feet in chains that held her fast. He placed her inside a dark dungeon with black walls. The Princess shuddered and shivered. She heard rats running on the floor, but could not see them. She heard groaning and crying around her. She was terrified.
* She remembered the Beautiful Garden and how bright and light it was. She had enjoyed plenty to eat, freedom, and beauty all about her. Why had she listened to the song and chose to explore the world beyond the wall?
Now she knew that the world held nothing for her but terror and fear. The Princess wanted to return to the Beautiful Garden where she had found such peace and joy. But how would she be able to be free of the chains and find her way back? The chains held her tight and dug into her ankles.
She felt tears she could not stop, running down her cheeks in rivers of sorrow. A Princess never cried, and now – perhaps she was no longer a princess. Her dress was torn and dirty. Her face was scratched and smudged with dirt.
She remembered the Master Gardener who kept the beautiful Garden. “Oh, Master, I am so sorry I climbed that Golden Bell Tree and left You. I was so wrong to try to leave and taste of the world. I can’t live here. I want to come home.”
The Princess fell the chains fall from her ankles as a bright light came into the dark room. It was the Master Gardener. “I have come to take you back to the Beautiful Garden. I heard you confess that you were wrong to try worldly ways. I will take you home.”
With that, the Master Gardener swooped the Princess into His Arms and wrapped His love around her. When the Princess looked about her again, she was Home again. She was really Home!
She ran to the Bush of the Spirit and smelled deeply of each flower that bloomed there -- Faith, Love, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Goodness and Self Control. She loved the scent of the flower of Self-Control – it reminded her to remain in the Beautiful Garden and not listen to exotic songs from beyond the wall.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain. Psalm 139:4-6