I grew up watching Beauty and the Beast. The yellow-wearing princess has always been my favorite of the Disney lineup, and songs like “Be Our Guest” or “Tale as Old as Time” bring back nostalgic childhood memories like few others.
There’s just something about princess stories. We have pulled application from them before, and preschoolers aren’t the only girls drawn to them, as evidenced by The Princess Diaries and even William and Kate’s televised wedding.
So a Disney live-action remake? Count me in.
Sad, Sad Story
I finally watched it recently, and was not disappointed. The music, the animation, the effects—all blew me away right down memory lane.
There were a few things I didn’t remember. (For sure, this Disney remake had more controversy than Cinderella, but this post is neither a review nor an endorsement. Everyone needs to make their own decisions on movie choices, and if you would like more information before making yours, please check reviews like this one by Focus on the Family.) There were a handful of scenes and songs that I don’t recall from the animated version, but then I haven’t watched it in awhile.
In one memorable scene, Belle is beginning to realize the hopelessness of the castle residents as they live under the spell. Will anything change for them? Mrs. Potts firmly tells her not to worry about them, and the housewares calmly—but a bit sadly—begin to walk away.
In Disney fashion, a song breaks out, begun by the Beast as a child and joined in by Maestro Cadenza, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, and others. They sing of days gone by that they wish they could see again, and wonder if they will ever see the end of this spell.
Then the focus returns to Belle. “How in the midst of all this sorrow, can so much hope and love endure?” she asks. No one answers.
“I was innocent and certain, now I’m wiser but unsure. I can’t go back into my childhood, one that my father made secure; I can feel a change in me, I’m stronger now, but still not free.”
Belle and the Beast had already begun to experience the love the enchantress spoke of, but still the effects of the spell bound everyone in the house. It was sad—really sad. But hopeful.
We know another story like that.
Spells and Curses
Just days after I finally watched the Disney remake, and not far from where I live, a young bride and groom were in a car accident the day after their wedding. Both passed away within forty-eight hours.
How does hope still live with something like this?
In less traumatic ways, every single one of us knows that life is hard. There are griefs and regrets, hard and draining things that sap our energy and—sometimes—make us wish for that childhood we remember as so carefree.
All of creation groans under a spell of its own, a curse (Romans 8:22-23), wondering if it will ever be broken. Love has come and broken it, sacrificing Himself for our freedom, but still we live here. We are different, for sure, but still here in this mess, and still not experiencing in full the freedom Jesus gave us.
How do we live in this dark world when we know we are made for and set free for a greater one? How do we keep our hope and love one other when we’re constantly surrounded by sadness that only seems to get worse?
“How in the midst of all this sorrow, can so much hope and love endure?”
Real Hope for Real Pain
We are in the midst of so much sorrow. But it is temporary sorrow—still very, very real, and oh so hard, but temporary. “Take heart,” Jesus told us. “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). And all the sorrow in it.
Our hope doesn’t ignore or deny any of this pain. If anything, as followers of the God whose own Son died a horrific death, we know that pain and suffering and grief and trouble are undeniable and painful. But in our grief and trouble, we remember that the Son who died also rose again; He is now living victorious and extends that victory—and life—to us.
We know the spell is already broken.
This pain is real, yes. But so is hope—an unshakeable hope founded in God who promised that there is an eternity of life and love waiting for those who are His children. We can bank on it.
We can know that every tear will be wiped away.
We can know that the purpose of our lives goes beyond our time on earth, and that at the end of that time we will not be absorbed into soulless oblivion—or turned into inanimate objects (“Rubbish,” Cogsworth insists).“This world is a great sculptor’s shop,” C.S. Lewis wrote. “We are the statues and there’s a rumor going around the shop that some of us are someday going to come to life.” It’s not just a rumor: it’s real, and it’s coming.
The sorrow is still here. It will be for awhile. But hope and love endure with it, and one day we will fully, completely, finally come to life.