Who's the unfairest of them all? The enemy, that's who. And jealousy is one of his weapons of choice. Join Snow White and the evil queen in this cautionary tale of what happens when a woman is ruled by fear rather than love, choosing to abuse the one she is meant to nurture. We'll also explore the perils of “growing up girl,” and the triumph of choosing to reject the enemy's paralyzing poison for the redeeming love of Christ.
What was that cool Greek word for gentleness again?
What about the one for quiet?
Rise Above This: Episode 4
“Snow White”: Little Girl, Arise
Welcome to Lost in the Woods Fairy Tales ™. I’m your host, Autumn Woods, and I’m so excited you’re here. We’re coming to the end of Season 4 and will be on hiatus until next spring while I work on the Chronicles of Warfare Series by author Melinda Michelle. For now, we continue our adventures in Rise Above This, tales of women who seem to be swallowed up by life, unable to rescue themselves from circumstances beyond their control, until they find the courage to rise above the past, seizing new life with both hands. Last time, we talked about the battle to reclaim godly identity once it has been assaulted, boldly proclaiming God’s truth over your life and walking in it. This time, we’re looking behind the scenes at the enemy’s weapons of warfare against godly female identity and the importance of being taught how to combat them throughout your life. Other than the Holy Spirit, no one can teach you this better than an experienced, godly woman, but what happens when there are none to be found?
The enemy plays on fear and insecurity at every stage of life to distort the truth of who you are as a woman and a beloved daughter of God. We have to encourage each other and fortify ourselves with God’s truth so that we can become wise women who build each other up in love, rather than witch queens who tear each other down in fear. Our next tale is as much about the villainess as the heroine. It's the story of what happens when a woman is ruled by fear rather than love, choosing to abuse the one she is meant to nurture. It also explores the perils of “growing up girl,” and the triumph of choosing to reject the enemy's paralyzing poison for the redeeming love of Christ.
So, let’s get lost, as we read the story of (Snow White).
Don’t wander away from the campfire. We’re about to shed some light on the incredible treasure hidden in this story.
We begin with the good queen, Snow White’s mother. While sewing and staring out her ebony-framed window at the gently falling snow, she accidentally pricks herself with her needle, causing three drops of blood to fall upon the white flurries. Unconcerned with her wound, the queen is captivated by the stark beauty of the three colors together and wishes for a child “as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood of the window frame.”
In this transcendent moment, the queen prophesies over the life of her unborn daughter. She mentions three colors. Three is a number of covenant, completion, confirmation, the Trinity, and resurrection. In Christlike fashion, Snow White will cheat death through resurrection after three direct attempts to murder her.
The princess exhibits both outward and inward traits associated with each color, white, red, and black. Her skin is white and unblemished like a sacrificial lamb, referring to her innocence, purity, and future redemption. In Revelation 3:5, Jesus says, “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” Snow White will overcome the threat on her life as well as her own transgressions by the end of the story. Her red lips and rosy cheeks hint at the beauty of her womanhood, which brings her both blessings and curses, just as crimson has both positive and negative symbolic connotations. Red signifies passion, love, blood, the covering of the Blood of Jesus, anger, danger, warning, and the transition from child to woman. Snow White is “growing up girl” throughout the story and faces both the beauties and dangers of this vulnerable state through her interactions with other characters, especially the evil queen. The combination of red and white illustrates the struggle between Snow White’s spirit man and sin nature, while indicating that she is washed clean through the blood of the Lamb. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool” (Isaiah 1:18). Black refers to sin, darkness, and death. Her black hair hovers around her like an ominous cloud of doom, foretelling the struggles Snow White will face as she is mercilessly hunted by her stepmother, narrowly escaping death again and again, only to succumb to it after repeated disobedience, from which she is redeemed.
That’s a lot of information crammed into a simple wish!
Soon enough, God grants the young queen’s desire, and she gives birth to a healthy baby girl who matches the description of her request perfectly. But, subject to fairy tale rules, the good mother dies soon afterward, leaving her bereft husband with the task of choosing a new mother for Snow White. We are never told what the relationship is like between Snow White and her father. He slips into the plot long enough to sire Snow White, marry the evil queen and promptly disappear for good. His quick exit is partly explained in that female adolescence is often marked by the pain of an absent father, whether it is physical or metaphorical. Out of fear, distraction or disinterest, he pulls back from this strange individual who used to be his little girl and is now turning into a wild, mysterious creature for whom no perfect instruction manual has been written. He can only stare across the border of the country of womanhood, shouting advice as she battles the dragons and witches lurking there that he can’t always see. Often, it is on this battlefield that God calls a young woman to draw nearer to Him, gently showing her that He has loved her with an everlasting love and is the source of all she is after (Jeremiah 31:3). As a woman becomes less dependent on the attentions of an earthly father she still hungers for love and acceptance. This is like blood in the water to the enemy, who will send out forces in droves to steal her heart from God and encourage her to seek the approval she craves in the eyes of anyone but the one Who made her.
I address this issue because some folklore critics will argue that Snow White and the wicked queen are in a silent competition for the king’s attention. I heartily disagree. One, because the king is hardly around, and two, because the queen’s competition is with, well, everyone. The attention of one man is not enough for her. She strives to be “the fairest one of all.” Snow White, meanwhile, couldn’t care less. She isn’t obsessed with her own beauty. If people tell her she is lovely, that’s nice, but it isn’t everything to her. In fact, we never see Snow White acknowledge her own beauty. Rather, we hear other characters commenting on and reacting to it, and see Snow White dealing with the positive or negative consequences of their words and actions.
Unfortunately, that is the case for many women, regardless of age. We have to cope with the way people receive and treat us based on our appearance, whether we buy into the game or not. The rules are ever changing with few exceptions, and anyone who meets their culture’s standard of beauty one day may fall out of favor the next. This fluctuation of criteria causes confusion, division, and lifelong wounds hemorrhaging bitterness and jealousy. It encourages women to become the worst enemies of ourselves and our sisters as we sacrifice peace, healthy relationships, and enjoyment of the blessings God has given us to pull ahead in the race for acceptance and love through physical perfection. I say we because I am absolutely a product of a toxic culture. While God continues to sanctify me, there are things entrenched in me that I haven’t broken free from yet. But it encourages me to see the girls and women coming up behind me who have seen the torture my generation and those before have gone through in the quest for physical perfection, and chosen not to fall in line behind us. I don’t care for the phrase “body positivity,” but I appreciate what the movement is trying to do in the way of drawing attention to the many varieties of loveliness God makes. He creates all kinds of beautiful because He Himself is all kinds of beautiful. In contrast to the world, God’s standard of truth is not fluid, but hard like adamant stone. He calls us fearfully and wonderfully made in Psalm 139. We don’t have to shove ourselves into a restrictive, man-made, iron maiden cookie cutter to please Him. While he delights in designing us and calling us good, “the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
By the time she is seven years old, Snow White is “as beautiful as the bright day and more beautiful than the queen herself.” This is not a commentary on beauty agism, which is a demonic device of the enemy used to cause division among women and between the sexes. Clearly, the storyteller’s assertion takes both inner and outer beauty into account. It is not only her physical attributes that make Snow White more beautiful, but her kind heart. She possesses the gentle and quiet spirit described in 1 Peter 3:4. Remember that the word “gentle” here does not mean timid or ineffectual. The original Greek word for “gentle” in this passage is praüs, which “refers to exercising God's strength under His control – [for example], demonstrating power without undue harshness” (HELPS Word Studies). It’s the same word Jesus uses to describe Himself when He says, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened…for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). Jesus is a ferocious man. Read a little bit of Isaiah for a clearer picture. He could have destroyed everyone who stood in His way, but it would have defeated the purpose of His coming here as a holy and living sacrifice to redeem creation. He withheld the full measure of His wrath out of love and mercy. Snow White could prance around torturing her stepmother with her beauty. She could run to her father after escaping the huntsman and have her stepmother killed for treason, but chooses not to. The word “quiet” in 1 Peter 3:4 does not mean someone who never speaks up or has her own opinion. The original Greek word, hesuchios, refers to being still and settled, with a divine calm, and having no need to stir up trouble (HELPS Word-studies). The princess feels no need to compete with her stepmother because she is at peace with herself and who she is becoming. From a godly standpoint, her spirit is more beautiful than the queen’s. The older woman has fashioned herself into her own idol, garnering her sustenance from the approval of her magic mirror and threatening all who stand in her way. Snow White, on the other hand, prays to God as her source and does her best not to take advantage of others to satisfy her needs.
Snow White is seven years old when the mirror declares her a thousand times fairer than her stepmother. Remember that seven is the number of perfection, full completion, and new beginnings. At this young age, Snow White has miraculously internalized a reality that her wicked stepmother could never understand, and the glory of it radiates from her eyes, adding supernatural loveliness to her extant outer splendor. Snow White is secure in herself as a daughter of God. She knows that she is loved and wanted and has a purpose. But rather than humbling herself to learn from her stepdaughter and help her maintain this fantastic discovery throughout the trials of adolescence and adulthood, the evil queen decides to eliminate her competition, hiring her huntsman to take Snow White deep into the forest and kill her, bringing back her lungs and liver as trophies.
The liver filters out toxins in the body and releases what is good and necessary to sustain life into the bloodstream (Johns Hopkins Medicine). Lungs “bring in air from the atmosphere and pass oxygen into the bloodstream. From there, it circulates to the rest of the body” (Medical News Today). These vital organs are representative of discernment, filtering “the good into the pot, the bad into the crop,” and utilizing the good to help the body survive and thrive. Notice that both organs also have to do with purifying and regulating blood, symbolizing salvation through the perfect blood of Jesus. The evil queen wants to rob Snow White of life, power, and salvation. Without the ability to filter out evil and process good, Snow White will cease to function correctly. The enemy seeks to cloud our judgement and prevent us from processing God’s truth, which is as necessary for our successful survival as the air we breathe. Messengers of darkness are dispatched daily to attack our vulnerable cores and distort our perception of what God calls certain. But we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to crumple all dispatches from the father of lies and refute them with the living and powerful word of God.
The huntsman attempts obeys his orders, but his will is conquered by Snow White’s innocence and purity. Rejecting the false command that she must die, she pleas with him to let her live, promising to run away into the woods and never return. This bargain not only saves her life, but the huntsman’s dignity. If Snow White never comes back, he can never be accused of treason for sparing her, and is free to return home without a child’s blood on his conscience. Her righteous choice to have mercy on him inspires him to be merciful. Instead of slaying the princess, he catches and kills a young boar, harvesting the required organs from it to bring to the queen. Wickedly, she orders them to be brined and served to her for dinner, thinking that she is feasting on Snow White’s lungs and liver. Meanwhile, the little princess is left in the wild, forced to become lost in the woods to find the solace she is looking for.
The story of David is much like that of Snow White. From a young age, God blessed David and chose him to become the next king of Israel. Saul, the current king, had turned away from God, so God’s Spirit had left him in search of a man after His own heart. He chose David and trained his hands for war and his fingers for battle in secret, building the boy’s faith (Psalm 144:1). David didn’t plot to become the next monarch, just as Snow White never schemes to outshine the queen. Instead, he waited patiently for the prophecy to come true in the Lord’s time, honoring Saul as if he were the king’s own son and winning favor with everyone because of his righteous conduct. But Saul became ravenously jealous of the young hero when he heard his subjects chanting in the streets, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7). From that day forward, Saul hated David and attempted to murder him multiple times. Through the help of the king’s son, Jonathan, David escaped from the palace and went into hiding, just as the huntsman helps Snow White flee into the forest. Unfortunately, Saul couldn’t leave well enough alone and wrecked many lives in his crazed manhunt for David. Like him, the evil queen cannot leave her stepdaughter in peace because she has no peace herself.
Jealousy, especially when it is intergenerational, causes a ripple effect of destruction. It prevents trust, stops the flow of wisdom, and robs both parties of the opportunity for intimate connection. The successful completion of some of the good works God ordained for them to do may be delayed or cheapened because of the hatred of one party for the other. And if the toxic behavior continues, God may choose to stop up the blessings of the offending party, remove them from their current circumstances, expose them, or put them to death.
It’s especially sad when jealousy tears apart female relationships because we are central to the creation of community. We were made as the original answer to the problem of human loneliness according to Genesis 2:18. What is envy if not a snare of the enemy to catch and hold people in isolation, enabling the forces of darkness to torment them while they refuse to make connections with people who will remind them of God’s truth? It’s no wonder that women have long been the targets of the accuser’s wide-scale attack against real beauty and godly identity. If we can’t stand being around each other for fear of feeling inferior, how will we make and sustain godly communities whose faith and spiritual activity for the Kingdom of Heaven threatens the success of Satan’s lair? Communities thrive best where Christ-centered intergenerational relationships bloom. Titus 2:3-5 asserts that “older women [are meant] to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers… but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love… to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy… to be kind.” Like so many of the wicked stepmothers we’ve met in the fairy tale forest, the evil queen forsakes her duty to protect and guide the generation coming up behind her, choosing instead to selfishly persecute her stepdaughter through witchcraft and manipulation.
Needless to say, our heroine could use a change of scenery. Somewhere less spiteful with people who aren’t cold and vindictive. She needs a wilderness experience to purge herself from her time in Egypt. Scared and unsure where to find shelter, Snow White flies through the forest. Wild animals approach her, but sensing her innocence, do her no harm. No disaster comes near her because she is divinely protected. It’s a small detail, but I appreciate that the text notes that she “[races] over sharp stones and through thorn bushes.” These are two of the obstacles Jesus mentions in the parable of the sower, representing people who hear the word joyfully but do not let it take root in them because of persecution or else allow the cares of the world to choke it out of their hearts, becoming unfruitful (Matthew 13: 20-22). Snow White overcoming these physical obstacles indicates that her heart will not be defeated by the atrocities committed against her. While she will have to cope with what her stepmother has done, she is “hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed… perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8). She will not close herself off to God or become bitter because of one woman’s mistake. Frankly, that takes guts.
You may have heard me mention in other episodes that I once lived through a four-year experience where each sphere of my life was dominated by a woman who was meant to teach and mentor me, but chose instead to abuse and reject me. I had multiple evil queens trying to tear me apart throughout adolescence with no relief in sight. The devil was working overtime, using this onslaught in an attempt to get me to willingly abandon my post and turn my back on God’s purpose for my life. It took longer than I’d like to admit for me to forgive these women because of how effectively they’d been used to hurt me. But I persevered through each situation and clung to God as hard as I could. He held me through my anger and sadness. In His mercy, He eventually put me in wilderness spots away from each one so that I could get my bearings and understand the truth of my ill-treatment. I had to learn that none of it was my fault. That I didn’t deserve what was done to me by virtue of my being different or uncontrollable. God made me strong, striking, and unbending because He knew I’d need to be in order to serve my purpose. I didn’t need to douse the fire in my heart to make people comfortable with me—I needed to burn brighter. And He reminded me that the war wasn’t me vs. these women, but me equipped with godly authority vs. the already defeated kingdom of darkness. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
After this, I prayed for Him to heal me of my female authority wounds and connect me with godly women. To date, He has sent me more righteous female mentors and friends than the number of women who had been used against me. Many of them came into my life within days of me praying that prayer. He really “is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20).
I’m still working out my salvation with fear and trembling like everyone else. But I want you to know that if you’ve felt like you need to lop off chunks of your soul to make yourself more agreeable or less of a target for others, stop. Stop trying to kill the beautiful parts of yourself that God meant to shine and point people back to Him. Jesus never changed His message or His character for fear of offending anyone. He obeyed God rather than man. And He warned us that the world would hate us because we belong to Him (John 15:18-22). If someone has a problem with the way God made you—not the identity you’ve created for yourself, but the honest to goodness way He designed you that you can’t truly alter no matter how hard you try—you’re not the one with the problem. Other people’s extreme reactions to you are directly linked with the reality of the spirit realm. Darkness can’t abide light. “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed” (John 3:20). The cruel women I dealt with—even the ones who followed Jesus—hated me because God’s light in my life exposed ugliness and hurt in their hearts that they hadn’t conquered yet. The evil queen loathes Snow White because her inner purity and loveliness illuminates the darkness in her own soul.
It’s one thing not to like someone because of personal differences. That’s fine. We’re not called to like everyone. We’re called to love everyone. If we are not children of darkness but children of light, we need to love like it. In practical terms, that means remembering that the person persecuting you is just that—a person—whom God sacrificed His Son to redeem. We pray for abusers and persecutors to accept salvation and make Jesus Lord of their lives. They need Him just as much as we do. But we go to war against the demonic entities using these people as their puppets to torment the saints of God.
One of the ways to regroup and find the courage to do that is to embrace the wilderness experience. In it, God leads you into an environment away from your immediate source of trouble. It’s a place that’s scaled back from what you’ve been used to, usually involving a lot of quiet and manual labor; a spot conducive to drowning out the voices in your head and sharpening your ability to pick up on the voice of God. During your time there, you learn new skills and hone old ones. Sometimes you’ll meet other people in the wild meant to help you pick up the pieces and make sense of what you’ve just been through so you can move forward. And often, the enemy will creep in and use the beautiful isolation of the place to try out new methods of attack, turning your recovery zone into the battleground of testing. You can pass these ordeals with flying colors if you apply the lessons you’ve learned from the Holy Spirit, submitting to God and resisting the devil. By the time you leave, you should be stronger than you were when you arrived.
Snow White experiences all of this during her wilderness adventure in the woods. Forests, after all, are places of transformation, and she cannot leave the same girl she was when she came. Having conquered the treacherous path and kept her faith, Snow White finds herself standing in front of a quaint little cottage. Upon entering, she sees that everything inside the dwelling is “tiny…indescribably dainty and spotless.” Everything is orderly and there are seven of each household necessity. The bed linens and tablecloth are even described as being “white as snow.” Unwilling to deprive anyone of their entire meal, Snow White circumspectly takes a bit of sustenance from each plate and cup before laying down in the seventh bed and falling asleep. This is representative of the girl gleaning a bit of wisdom from each man’s testimony. She takes the courage and fortification from the godly examples around her, allowing them to comfort her after her initial trial. Mark 1:13 tells us that, like Snow White, Jesus passed unharmed by the wild animals and was ministered to by angels after besting the enemy on His own wilderness adventure (Mark 1:13). Rest and godly support are essential before taking the next step in ministry or on the road to recovery.
The description of the dwarves’ home with the recurring number seven and clean, white linen symbolically indicates that the dwarves are mature, God-fearing men, innocent like Snow White but also wise as serpents. They can easily discern the schemes of the evil queen and do their best to advise and protect their young ward. Did it surprise you to learn that contrary to the Disney film, the dwarves are not messy little boys in need of mothering and structure, but righteous men who are good stewards with what they have, and that they kindly invite the lost princess to share in their lifestyle?
We can’t fault the Disney film too much for its modification of the dynamic between the princess and the dwarves. At its beginning, we see that Snow White has become the kitchen drudge, forced to do Cinderella-style labor by her evil stepmother. It isn’t that meeting a group of men for the first time shoves the princess into the domestic sphere. She’s been scrubbing floors since her first scene in the film! Rather, Disney’s Snow White has an acts of service love language. When she arrives at the dwarves’ cottage, tidying up is a practical way to show her gratefulness for being allowed to stay. Like the woman in Proverbs 31, she does the best she can with what she has to improve circumstances for herself and her new friends. Our Snow White has no practical skills that we know of. Her gifts are her beautiful form, heart, and character. But staying with the dwarves gives her a chance to learn about hard work in a loving environment. And while they are perfectly capable of functioning without her, their lives are improved by her kindness, companionship and assistance. The men look forward to seeing their friend every day. She is the sister and daughter they never had. Someone they can share their lives, burdens, joys and wisdom with.
Snow White is finding rest and peace in this fairy tale cottage. As the days pass, she comes to understand that there are kind people in the world who do not mean her harm and are willing to teach her right living. But her current situation is temporary. We don’t know her exact age when she comes to the cottage, but we do know that she is already too tall for most of the beds in the house. Eventually, she will outgrow the small dwelling and have to move on. Furthermore, it’s only a matter of time before her wicked stepmother discovers her whereabouts. Knowing that the princess will be home alone most of the time, the dwarves caution her not to let anyone in the house unless they are home. Unfortunately, avoidance is not a permanent solution to fending off enemy onslaughts. The closed door does not block out the queen’s enticing words. Not opening the door to darkness is one thing. Thwarting an attack designed especially for you is a different skill altogether and highly necessary, especially during the most tumultuous transition periods in your life.
Early womanhood is fraught with turmoil as light and darkness both war for your heart. The messages received from older women during these years can fortify or break a girl’s character. It is not that men do not have similar insecurities or cannot speak life over the problems we face in our adolescence, but there are things we go through both internally and externally that only another woman can fully comprehend and help us walk through. A boy looks to a father figure to confirm his masculinity. A girl looks to other women to recognize her femininity. I do not say a mother because, like the evil queen, many of us have been trained to seek this approval from all women everywhere. That’s not right or fair, but that’s how it is.
The dwarves, standing in as father figures, do not impose any standards on Snow White other than that she complete her work well and protect herself from danger. They care about her heart and health rather than bodily perfection. Good fathers are like that. While there is nothing wrong with beauty or wanting to be seen as beautiful, the evil queen has made it into a god. Frustrated that Snow White will not do the same, and therefore does not care to play the game bound by the rules of physical insecurity, she decides to make her stepdaughter care in order to level the playing field. The princess is already beautiful inside and out. She doesn’t need any extra help to achieve what she already has. But that’s where the Eden trick comes in. Like Satan, the evil queen begins by eroding Snow White’s confidence, undermining her with body image issues so that she questions her worth and reaches out for the lie in a desperate attempt to correct her supposed “errors.”
Each of the wicked queen’s attacks against Snow White is connected to a female insecurity. The corset laces to control her figure, the comb to tame her hair, the food she shouldn’t enjoy. Snow White does not exhibit any concern for these matters before the queen brings them to her attention. In fact, they are all problems that the vindictive woman grapples with herself and passes on to her stepdaughter like a generational curse. Regrettably, many women have been sucked into this cycle. I’m no exception. Look at all the negative words I used a few sentences ago. Control. Tame. Shouldn’t enjoy. This is the bondage the kingdom of darkness would inflict on women to stop us from living fully in the freedom Jesus bled and died to give us. We are the wild, beautiful daughters of the Most High God, and the enemy of our soul would see us caged. Even under the new covenant of grace, we get so caught up trying to perfectly obey all of the legalistic “no’s” of the world in hopes of winning love and approval that we forget that God loved us when we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). He approves us through our faith in His Son’s sacrifice (Ephesians 1:5-7). We forget that our identity is secure in Christ and that outward loveliness comes from God and is amplified in us by His glory. We can enhance it with creative skills, in imitation of our creative Father, but it is not the true sum of our worth. I’m not saying ditch your makeup or stop taking care of your temple. I’m saying don’t let the enemy cow you into thinking you aren’t worthy of your calling or of love because of the way you do or don’t look. God has loved you with an everlasting love and “created [you] in Christ Jesus for good works, which [He] prepared beforehand that [you] should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
This trick of beauty bondage will continue to work until we start breaking the cycle. “But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved” (Hebrews 10:39). Women of all generations should be speaking life and the word of God over each other, creating community where there was once competition. “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19). When someone is suffering from the inundation of enemy propaganda, we are empowered by God’s Spirit to speak truth over them and help them battle against the accuser’s words with the Lord’s irrefutable standard. We must call the Holy Spirit to come dwell in the spaces from which we command the demons of fear, insecurity, and all of their compatriots to flee in Jesus’ name.
Clearly, the queen is not on board with this plan. She is self-serving, having no interest in building up anyone’s kingdom but her own. Donning a disguise and staining her face, the fiendish woman crosses the seven hills separating her from her rival and knocks on the cottage door, calling out that she has pretty wares for sale. Hungry for female companionship, Snow White easily makes an exception to the dwarves’ rule and lets her enemy slither into her sanctuary. The wicked woman sells the princess new laces for her corset and then criticizes her for not being laced properly. We know that this is because she wants to lace the girl herself and squeeze her to death, but her cruel comment plants a seed of doubt in Snow White’s mind. Is she really beautiful? She must be very slovenly and unfeminine if this strange woman is comfortable enough to correct her. In reality, if Snow White is still wearing the gown she ran away in, it more than likely laces from the back, due to her rank. She would have difficulty dressing herself without assistance. Essentially, the queen is intimating that Snow White is not worthy to be considered a beautiful princess, but could be with her help. What a lie!
Satan did this in the garden and still does it today. He tries to sell us what we already have and trick us into handing over our authority and spiritual blessings in exchange for sin and death. By surrendering her authority and allowing the queen to set the standard of worthiness, Snow White’s healthy body is imprisoned in the iron grip of perfectionism, suffocating as her internal organs are crushed together by her adversary. Remember that earlier the wicked queen commanded the huntsman to remove Snow White’s lungs and liver, symbolically wrecking the girl’s discernment and ability to process the truth while rejecting falsehood. Unable to function, the princess collapses to the ground unconscious. Satisfied that her scheme has succeeded, the monstrous harridan dashes back to the palace, eager to hear the magic mirror pronounce her the most beautiful woman in the world.
Fortunately, the dwarves arrive home shortly after that, and immediately go to battle for their friend. As soon as they slice through the restrictive staylaces, Snow White revives. Symbolically, the dwarves are doing spiritual warfare for their ward, slicing through the lies of the accuser with the sword of the Spirit, the living word of God. I and the men and women in my sphere are practicing speaking against body image attacks with the word of God, charging after the spirits stirring up trouble rather than getting angry with the person who has been subjected to the adversary’s propaganda. Notice that the dwarves do not get mad at Snow White when she explains what happened. They hear her out and then share their wisdom, gently correcting her. This was not an accident perpetuated by a well-meaning woman. The evil person who deliberately attacked her was her stepmother. Her appearance and weapon of choice were different this time, but the malicious intent was the same. Firmly, they advise Snow White not to let anyone in through the door unless they are home, now that the queen knows how to find her and may very well return.
Our adversary works the same way. Look at the story of Job for reference. When one tactic failed to kill Job’s faith in God, the enemy took a different approach and came after another aspect of Job’s life. And another. And another. He did the same to Jesus in the wilderness. But in both of these instances, the ones under fire clung to God and spoke His truth over themselves in order to resist the enemy. Snow White, however, has not been taught how to do this. Nor has she had any healthy experiences in dealing with other women. This leaves a gaping hole in her heart through which the enemy can enter and access all the avenues of her insecurity. Refusing to open the door is not enough. Snow White’s discernment needs to be sharpened and her inner turmoil soothed. She has to cling to the truth and guard her heart in order to effectively defeat the queen’s deceptions.
Enraged to discover that her stepdaughter is still alive and gorgeous, the evil queen storms off to concoct a poisoned comb by means of “all the witchcraft in her power.” Then, masquerading as a different old woman, she once more crosses the seven hills and knocks at Snow White’s door. It’s ironic that every time the queen sets off to make herself fairest of them all, she has to sacrifice the beauty she’s trying so hard to protect by travelling in hideous disguises.
As we’ve previously discussed, witchcraft is manipulation and deception. It is an attack on the mind and will. God openly respects our right to free will. The enemy does not. He will instruct anyone who will listen in the numerous ways to control and manipulate others. The poisoned comb is a direct assault on Snow White’s mind. Unfortunately, by opening herself up to doubt and seeking to meet her needs illicitly, the princess has made herself an easy target. Finding a loophole to the dwarves’ command, she does not open the door to let the old woman in, but speaks to her through the window. Technical obedience is disobedience. Obedience is done out of love and respect for someone else. Technical obedience is self-seeking. It’s what cost Saul his kingdom in 1 Samuel 15. The young woman is eagerly pursuing what is missing from her life, but she is unwittingly doing it through a diabolical source. There are so many things out there designed to mess with our heads in our search for acceptance that it would take an entire episode to dissect them all. But one of the most reprehensible aspects of the battle of the mind we are seeing in this story is the queen’s misuse of power. Snow White is eager for acknowledgement and wise female companionship, and instead, the queen offers her rejection and death. Agreeing with the old woman that there is no harm in coming out to look at the comb, Snow White opens the door to her enemy again, and suffers the consequences. The wicked queen runs the poisoned comb through the princess’ hair until it takes effect, dropping her to the ground senseless. Delighted, the witch scurries home in expectation of affirmation from the magic mirror.
A woman’s hair is her glory. It’s a way we express our personalities and our cultural standing. While stroking the occultly crafted comb through her rival’s locks, the jealous queen is poisoning Snow White’s concept of her worth. One filmed version of the story shows her jabbing the pointed teeth of the comb into Snow White’s scalp to speed up the venom’s flow through her bloodstream. But the scene we’re presented with here is much more in keeping with the operations of the spirit of anti-Christ, who seeks to wear out and discourage the saints with undulating waves of constant warfare until we cannot resist him anymore (Daniel 7:25). The poisoning is slow and steady, eroding the princess’ health and grip on reality bit by bit until it completely overwhelms her system and she shuts down.
Once more, the dwarves come to the rescue, removing the treacherous comb and reviving their friend. They advise her to “be on her guard” and not open the door for anyone. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23). The dwarves are right to encourage her and war for her life, but Snow White must find the courage to do it for herself. She keeps opening the door to destruction in her quest to mend her wounds. As frustrating as it is, we can’t get mad at her. Let she who has never cracked a window cast the first stone. Because Snow White has not yet learned discernment or resistance, a third and successful attack is imminent. God will allow you to go through the same pattern again and again until you learn what He’s trying to teach you. And the cost gets higher with each repetition.
Snow White’s next opportunity arrives quickly. As soon as her wicked stepmother learns that she has failed to kill Snow White yet again, she makes a dangerous vow. She is willing to trade her life for the sake of her rival’s death. Jezebel made a similar vow when she threatened Elijah’s life. And look where that got her. Devoured by dogs in the street after the man of God was spirited away alive to his Maker. Our story has a similar ending, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Continuing to operate under the Jezebel spirit, the vicious villainess secludes herself in the darkest most secretive part of the castle and forges the one apple to rule them all. This poisoned apple is a mockery of Snow White’s traits and the prophecy over her life, half white, half red, with black death inside. The red half is poisoned, symbolizing the dubious gift of the knowledge of good and evil. Remember that red has both positive and negative connotations. By creating this apple, she seeks to change the times and laws to suit her agenda in anti-Christ fashion. In giving the deadly red half to Snow White and consuming the white, she seeks to regain her youth and compel the mirror to alter his declaration. The apple is also a physical representation of the queen. Her outer self is lovely, but inside, she is full of jealousy, bitterness, and death. By convincing Snow White to partake of the poisoned apple, the queen forces the stinging venom of envy to pulse through her stepdaughter’s veins, evening the playing field as the pious girl sinks down to the depths with her adversary.
For the third and final time, the witch queen journeys to the dwarves’ cottage. During their previous encounter, Snow White said that she couldn’t let anyone in. Now, she blames everything on the dwarves specifically, divorcing her desires from theirs as easily as a child does by declaring, “Mom said I have to.” She still shows some hesitation, but her disguised adversary is so confident in the future success of her plan that she boldly hints to Snow White about the poison in the apple and practically dares her to take a bite, offering to share in the forbidden fruit with her. The enemy of our soul is just as brazen. He will often give his plan away and tell you what havoc he’s about to wreak but deliver it all in an irresistible package tailored to you and your weaknesses.
The scene plays out here in mirror imitation of the fateful moments of the fall of man. Like Eve, Snow White adds to the commandment not to let anyone in, stating that she is not supposed to take anything, just as our first mother insisted that she must not touch the forbidden fruit on pain of death (Genesis 3:3). The evil queen insists that the girl share the apple with her, goading her to take a bite and prove that she isn’t afraid. Snow White experiences envy watching the evil queen enjoy the apple, just as Satan coveted God’s glory and tricked Eve into doing the same. The princess “[sees] that the [fruit is] good for food…pleasant to the eyes, and… desirable” to prove her bravery, so she grabs the red half of the apple and takes a bite (Genesis 3:6 paraphrased). Instantly, her eyes are opened—she has made a grave mistake—literally. The poison courses through her bloodstream and wrestles her to the floor. Cackling maniacally, the witch queen crows over her fallen prey and dashes home, where she at last hears the mirror pronounce her “fairest in the land.”
Meanwhile, the dwarves do their best to pick up the pieces, washing Snow White with water and wine, pure, spiritual forms of the white and red colors that have been so maligned this day. But nothing can rouse her. There is no poison comb or skintight lacing to remove, no great feat the men can perform. The first two attacks were done to Snow White. This one, she has done to herself, swallowing the poison offered to her by her enemy. Though she has committed a great act of treachery against herself, her spirit is still in God’s hands. She remains in a state of suspended animation while her mind and heart catch up to the atrocities she has endured and find the courage to reject them and embrace new life.
She is not dead, but sleeping. Even after a three-day wake, she remains as lovely as ever. Unable to bury her in the cold, dead ground, the dwarves instead fashion a glass coffin for her, emblazoned with gold letters declaring her name and that she is a king’s daughter. This coffin is placed on a high mountain. Remember that mountains represent a higher plane of thought, and an intimate meeting with the Lord where revelation takes place. Snow White is mercifully set on a high place where she can heal, come to terms with all she has endured, relinquish her sin and reclaim her true destiny. And she doesn’t have to do it alone. While they wait for a miracle, the dwarves and the animals watch over her. The three mentioned are an owl, a raven, and a dove, representing the wisdom of the Father, the sacrifice of the Son, and the peace, authority, and eternal inheritance of the Holy Spirit.
In the darkest of all the wilderness moments we’ve seen in our stories, we’re given a bright, burning fire of hope. When you are dead in your trespasses, God still loves you and takes every opportunity to bring you back to life. He doesn’t abandon His plans for you when you go off the rails. He knows your name and that you are a daughter of the eternal King. In the deathly stillness of your desolation, He woos you with His love, teaches you through His wisdom. And presents you with the opportunity to take hold of the new life and freedom His Son bled and died to give you. Healing takes time. He understands that. When you’ve had a lifetime of the enemy’s poison seeping into your ears and burrowing into your veins, it’s little wonder that you’d begin to knock it back of your own free will. It’s not surprising that you’d start to believe his lies that the kingdom of this world is supreme and that you are unworthy of your Heavenly Father’s love and acceptance, or anyone else’s for that matter. It’s even less shocking that after bearing the brunt of this malicious campaign, you’d retreat from the field of your freedom and crawl, head bowed into the accuser’s confining cage.
But God will orchestrate an opportunity for you to spit the poison out. Sometimes it’s gentle, jarring, or both at once, but in His infinite mercy, He will make it happen, because He cannot bear to see His beloved caged. He whispers it to you now just as Jesus did at the bedside of Jairus’ daughter, “Talitha cumi… Little girl, I say to you, arise” (Mark 5:41). And I say to you, arise. Use the word of God to tear down the strongholds of the kingdom of darkness in your life. Rebuke them in the name of Jesus and call the Spirit of God to take their place in your life. You are a daughter of the Most High God, and “the weapons of [your] warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:4-6).
Jesus took the first step of this journey for you. He surrendered His life completely, passing every test we failed, defeating sin and death through His perfect life, demise, and resurrection, so that we could spend eternity with Him. After receiving this gift in our hearts and surrendering our lives to Him in return, you and I are accepted in the Beloved. We are free to take the liberty He’s given us and shine it in every corridor of our beings, driving out the darkness and rejecting the deceptions of the enemy by boldly declaring God’s truth over everything our adversary tried to destroy. We see this exemplified through Snow White’s prince. When He finds her, he cannot pass her by Compelled by her beauty and her story, he is willing to give anything required to take her away with him, promising to honor her as though she were his beloved. Under his protection, Snow White is jostled in her coffin, spewing out the poisoned apple, and rejecting the dark destiny the enemy would place over her life. Alive and fully awake at last, she listens as the prince tells her her own story, redeemed and made new through the eyes of love. When he offers her a new life with him as his wife and future queen, she is moved with tenderness and joyfully accepts.
Now that Snow White has claimed her freedom and fulfilled her obedience, she is ready to participate in the divine punishment of her tormentor. Knowing that the evil queen will be invited to her wedding feast, she and the prince commission iron shoes to be “heated up over a fire of coals” in preparation for her arrival. The wicked queen does not want to come to the feast upon hearing that she is not as beautiful as the bride, but her jealous curiosity drives her to the castle door. Instantly, Snow White recognizes her stepmother, freezing the evil woman in her tracks. Helplessly, the harridan slips her feet into the hot iron shoes set before her, compelled to dance in them until she dies. But Snow White lives happily with her husband; “every tear [has been wiped] from [her] eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” and all things are made new (Revelation 21:4-5).
Like Snow White, we have been awakened to new life. We, too, will have a wedding feast with Christ, our bridegroom, and reign with Him forever and ever. The Lord will be our God and we will be His people, and the gates of Hell will not prevail against us. The restoration blessings will be ours after our enemy, “the devil, [is] cast into the lake of fire and brimstone… [to] be tormented day and night forever and ever (Revelation 20:10). In the meantime, take back the turf you’ve been given here on earth. Spit out the enemy’s poisonous lies and drink deeply from God’s life-giving word of truth. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you the weak spots in your armor where the accuser has been slipping in and to train your hands for war and your fingers for battle against these principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this age, and spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. You have been given the authority to overcome all the power of the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony. It doesn’t matter who you’ve been. Because your Heavenly Father knows who you are. Because the Son has set us free, we are free indeed. Rise above the ashes of your past, and step forward into God’s perfect love, fearlessly living out the destiny of who He has called you to be.
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