Of Goblins and Invisible Thread

As I re-read The Princess and the Goblin recently, I was struck by its most prominent theme—fear versus faith and trust. Throughout the tale, Princess Irene, Curdie, Lootie, and others face fearsome creatures and situations, and their responses dictate the outcome. Lootie responds in fear of the goblins as night falls and in her fright gets hopelessly lost, rescued only by Curdie’s timely arrival. Curdie, a miner boy, keeps a level head at all times, walking through dark mines and goblin-infested hillsides with confidence, chanting tunes that mock his fears…and hold them at bay. Princess Irene safely makes her way through the tunnels of the goblins by keeping her finger at all times on the invisible thread of moonlight woven for her by her grandmother, trusting her grandmother’s promise that it would lead her to safety, despite all evidence to the contrary. The characters simply and accurately depict the outcomes of responding in fear or responding in faith.

“It was foolish indeed—thus to run further and further from all who could help her, as if she had been seeking a fit spot for the goblin creature to eat her in at his leisure; but that is the way fear serves us: it always sides with the thing we are afraid of.”
George MacDonald, The Princess and the Goblin

I identify with the battle to choose confidence and trust rather than give in to fear. As a child, my vivid imagination gave life to many terrifying things, both things that were and things that were not, but seemed as real as life, and those fears were powerful enough to keep me awake in bed through long nights, muscles tensed and eyes wide open lest something sneak up on me in the dark. One of the keys to breaking the fear was a shift in focus, onto God, His Word, and His promises of protection. It didn’t work like a charm or magic cure-all, but in the disciplining of my mind, fear began to lose a foothold.

As I’ve grown and faced real-life fearsome situations head on, I’ve learned even more the importance of moving my attention from the things I fear onto God (just like Irene clinging to her invisible thread)…and every time He brings me through. Because looking to Him means He breathes confidence and boldness into my spirit and gives me the ability to trust Him, even if it is an act of over and over choosing to trust and to hold fast to that thread in moments of fear or pain.

This simple fairy tale reminded me of my journey into greater freedom from fear and of how I want to live—fearless and full of trust.

What about you? Have you read books that paralleled aspects of your life or spoke to you in some way? Or wrestled with fear and gained victory? Please share!

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