The following is written by my friend, Dr Frank Leeds III
This story begins with “Once upon a time…”
Before continuing with our story, I recall seeing another in which a father was reading to his daughter. She interrupted him and asked, “Daddy, do all fairy tales begin with once upon a time?” No, said the father, most fairy tales begin with “If elected, I promise to…”
Thus, today’s story is not a fairy tale. It is a parable, but it begins with “Once upon a time…”
Once upon a time, there was a lily. She was a gorgeous lily that lived in the forest, surrounded with other colorful flowers, large and small trees of various hues, green grass, rolling hills, and a little brook gently meandered down the slopes providing a sweet-sounding music as it flowed over the stones in its path.
The lily was a very contented lily. She soaked up the sunlight that shone on her during the days, she watched the branches waved to and fro as the breezes moved through the trees. Her world was full of color and soft sounds, and lily was just ecstatic about being alive. You may want to think of her as the lily that Jesus talks about when he asked,
Have you considered the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. [Mathew 6:8]
Then one day, a little bird flew into Lily’s life. The bird landed a fair distance from Lily and she watched as the bird slowly pecked at worms in the soil, and then flew away. A few days later, the bird returned and did likewise. When he flew away the second time, she wondered where he went and what he saw. The thought began to puzzle her and in fact kept her from having a good night’s sleep.
When the bird returned a few days later, and got a little closer to Lily, she said “Good morning bird. My name is Lily.” “Lily” he scoffed, “You do not look like a lily to me. I have flown all over the world and I have seen the most gorgeous lily and you do not look like her at all. She was quite pretty and you are rather ugly.” The bird then flew away.
That night, Lily could not sleep at all. The rolling brook that used to lull her to sleep now became an irritant that kept her awake. With each passing day she seemed to wilt a little. She began to envy the bird’s freedom to come and go as it pleased, while she felt stuck in one place.
Eventually, the bird returned. When it did, she said to him, “Bird, where do you go when you fly away?” “Oh” said the bird, “I go many places. I just go where I want to go.” Lily then asked, “Will you take me with you? I want to see the lily that you described that is so much prettier than I.” He agreed, that on his next visit, he would take Lily with him.
A few days later, he returned. He started by chewing away the base of her stem to free her from the spot where she felt enslaved. When he finally “cut her loose”, he held her under his wing and flew the distance toward “the most gorgeous lily”. On the way Lily withered and died.
Why did I tell you that story? Lily is not the only one that has someone whisper in her ear that she is not “good enough”, that she is in the “wrong place”, that she is “not created the way the Lord wanted her created”, that there is something “wrong” with her.
The One who created and loves you, did not give Himself to die for the person the bird says you are. He died for the person you are. Be careful what voices you listen to. Your life could depend on it.