In Chapter 2 (“The Call”) of King’s Cross, author Timothy Keller cites a children’s book written by George MacDonald entitled The Princess and the Goblin. The protagonist is 8-year-old Irene. One day Irene’s grandmother gives her a ring with a thread attached to it that’s too fine for Irene to see. The thread leads to a little ball containing the rest of the thread. Whenever Irene is in danger, her grandmother instructs her to take off the ring and follow the thread forward, no matter where or to what difficulties it might lead. All Irene knows for sure is that her grandmother is holding the other end.
That’s precisely the type of assurance we need, especially in the desert, transitional times of our lives such as a ministry downsizing or position loss. In effect, Pastor Keller notes, Jesus is telling us:
“Follow me. I’m going to take you on a journey, and I don’t want you to turn to the left or to the right. I want you to put me first; I want you to keep trusting me, to stick with me, not turn back, not give up, turn to me in all the disappointments and injustices that will happen to you. I’m going to take you places that will make you say, ‘Why in the world are you taking me there?’ Even then, I want you to trust me.”
Pastor Keller concludes that just as Jesus’ thread led to the cross, our thread leads us into His arms.