Posted by: Michelle Knoll | July 16, 2012

Would You Like to Hear a Story? “Once Upon A Time…”

Throughout my life, I have found things which seemingly don’t have anything to do with God will sometimes hold some very significant truths about Who He is, and His nature.

What’s that got to do with hearing a story?  Well, read on, my friend.

At the request of our older son, I’ve started watching a TV show on Hulu.  But to be honest, I’m sort of hooked now.  It’s a pretty gripping drama.

The show is called, “Once Upon a Time,” in which a whole host of fairy tale characters find themselves in the real world, in a small town in Maine, thanks to the wicked queen from the fairy tale “Snow White.”  She ends up in the real world as well, as mayor of said small city in Maine.  And supposedly, not one of the citizens in this little town knows that he or she is a fairy tale character, except for said mayor.

Yes, guys and gals, I opened the door for you to start the political jokes.  But let’s not go there.  No spiteful jokes about how government employees are really witches and sorcerers, deceiving us all!

The story switches back and forth from a fairy tale setting to a real world setting.  Both are dark and sinister in tons of ways, which is not my usual cup of tea.  This world we live in contains enough darkness, as far as I’m concerned, so when I watch a show, I’d rather it be lighthearted and funny.  And this one is definitely not.

In the fairy tale world, the wicked queen arrives at the end of Snow White and Prince Charming’s wedding, only to announce she has a gift of her own to give them: a curse that will end their wonderful existence, so that she alone will be the one to have a “happy ending.”

There’s also a sorcerer who gives the wicked queen the recipe for the curse she uses, and he reiterates the same thought:  once she’s enacted this curse, there will be no more happy endings.

This hit me like a freight train.  We’re all looking for a happy ending.

Isn’t that the truth?  Every single one of us pursues college degrees, careers, houses, land, cars, marriage, children, and so many other things, like 401K’s, because we’re looking for THE happy ending.

Oh, please.  Don’t be offended, and don’t glare at your computer screen.  You know it’s true.  It’s why you do what you do, day in and day out!  You’re looking for the Happy Ending!

… and they lived happily ever after.

Right?  RIGHT?  You know I’m right.

There’s only one problem with this hunt we’re on.  We can’t find the happy ending on our own.  It’s impossible.  You can’t secure it for yourself.  It’s IMPOSSIBLE.

And this is why almost every fairy tale character in this TV drama seeks the help of the sorcerer.  Because when each one is faced with the horrible, the tragic, the harsh, the impossible, the scary, the inhumane, the sad, the painful, or something worse than all of the above put together, instead of enduring it, he or she wants a way out.  They all long for a happy ending.  (Well, they’re fairy tale characters, so I suppose it comes with the territory, huh?)

But we humans — real people — are hunting for happy endings, too.  You know we are.  But just as soon as we think we’ve got it all together, and things are peachy, something happens.  Then POOF!  All peace is gone, all security is gone, and the “happy ending” vaporizes.

Oh, we might hang on to a happy ending for a little while, but there’s always a plot twist that foils our story.  Right?  It’s true, so just nod your heads.

Well, you want to know something?  One Person actually succeeded in getting a happy ending for Himself.  Only one.  And He had to go to hell and back to get it.  Absolutely.  Literally.  To hell and back.

…Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him…

Jesus, the one who wrote THE story, and who has written us into His story, got His “Happy Ending.”  The phrase “for the joy set before Him” means “for the joy and gladness that was placed before His eyes, appointed to Him, that He was destined to have.”  In other words, “for the happy ending He was to receive.”  Pretty cool, eh?

But what comes next in that verse?

…endured the cross, despising the shame…

Well, that doesn’t sound like a happy ending to me!  Does it sound like one to you?  It sounds brutal and inhumane, don’t you think?  It was worse than our worst nightmares!  I mean, have you watched The Passion of the Christ?  It’s one of the most truthful depictions of the death of Jesus, and it’s gruesome!  I wouldn’t call crucifixion a “joy”!

And He “despised the shame.”  He looked beyond the fact that He was stripped and hung up in the open air like a piece of raw meat.  He had been beaten to the point He couldn’t be recognized, whipped until His flesh almost fell off his body, stripped of His clothes, and nailed to a wooden cross with spikes similar to those used to attach railroad tracks to railroad ties, and yeah, hung in the air like a piece of meat.

And He literally descended into Hell Itself.  That’s right.  You heard me.  HELL itself.

That’s not a “joy” to go through, people.  That’s the kind of stuff that turns your stomach, makes your skin crawl, and makes you shiver way down deep.  That’s the kind of stuff that gives you nightmares.

So what on earth drove Him to endure such cruelty?  And if the cross He endured, as well as the shame, wasn’t the “joy set before Him” — it wasn’t His “happy ending” — then what was?

Do you know?

Tune in next week, at this same time, and I’ll give you the answer.  (Yep.  Just like a two-part TV show, I’m gonna make you wait to find out!)



  1. Michelle…thanks for sharing… have tied Jesus to the story line of the show so well….can’t wait for part two….and by the way my son and I are avid fans of Once Upon a Time….and we can’t wait for season 2!!! looking forward to part 2 of this story….oh and have you watched Grimm? LOL!!!!!

  2. Thanks, Deborah, for your kind words. You are such a blessing!

    No, I haven’t watched Grimm, but I’m not sure I could take another show like this one. WOW. There are times when I really want to strangle the mayor of this little town, and I have to remind myself, “these are not real people!” Isn’t it funny how easily we can get wrapped up in stories like this? I ache for Mr. Gold, and the love he lost out of his own choosing, you know? And that’s yet another thing we can tie to the Bible. How many times do we believe a lie, instead of the truth? And then, there’s the faith of Prince Charming. Oh, I definitely want to discuss that in Part 2!

    I told my son that I will need a break from watching once we’re finished with Season 1, just to process all of what we’ve seen so far. Such an intense show! But can you imagine living in a world like that? A world with so little hope? I can’t. Hope I never have to, but if I do, I hope I can be a “hope giver.”

  3. I would not ever want to live without hope!!! I at times, really feel sorry for Regina and Mr. Gold as well….they really do show how it really is in real life…..there are people that are hardened by trials that they go through and helps you to understand why they are the way they are…..I really do love this show..and I hope when the time end this show ..that Regina and Mr. Gold have been redeemed!

    • Wouldn’t that be awesome? And for all the curses to be reversed. But I don’t know if that will happen. We’ll have to just wait and see.

  4. And you my friend are a blessing!!!!

    • Thank you!

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