How I Escaped Cheapside and Changed My Stars

Sometimes I forget I can change.

Does that ever happen to you?

There are times I feel stuck, trapped, in bondage to a pattern or a circumstance or a habit and I’m tempted to despair or to give up hope.

Does that ever happen to you?

Then, God uses something to remind me of the truth.

I have a few “guilty pleasure” movies and one of them is “A Knight’s Tale” starring Heath Ledger. It’s the story of the son of a poor thatcher who grows up on “Cheapside” in London but eventually wins a knighthood through courage, purity of heart and fairly unbelievable circumstances but, hey, it’s not an historical documentary, it’s a story.

When he is just a small boy, his father apprentices William to a great knight. As he bids the lad good-bye, he offers him the hope that “perhaps he can change his stars.”

William impersonates a knight for much of the film and “passes” as a noble but of course, in time, he is found out and must endure the contempt and ridicule of the arrogant upper class snobs that he ever dared try to rise above his station.

At last, however, the prince of England, who has recognized William’s heart and integrity, vouches for his nobility and awards him a knighthood that can never be challenged.

I love that moment.

Until that moment, William was without hope. He was guilty of the charges against him. Bravely, he refuses to run away. He chooses to face the consequences for his actions, not expecting the prince’s gift of salvation.

This is my story – and yours, as well, if you have turned to Christ.

Because, we were all born on Cheapside. Our worldly inheritance is a legacy of sin that dooms us to a lifelong poverty of spirit trapped in the squalor of an evil kingdom of darkness.

Some of us, though, set out to “change our stars”. We face ridicule and contempt when we do and usually our first efforts are in our own strength – we impersonate what we wish to become. Eventually, our fraud catches up with us.

But here is our hope.

Jesus is the true prince of this land and he wanders among us seeking out those who are willing to stop running, willing to acknowledge their shortfalls and willing to own up to the consequences. When we accept His sacrifice for us – He does, indeed, “change our stars”.

We are no longer bound by generational sin, by habit, by horoscope, by circumstance. We have the power to rise above, to transcend, to transform.

It isn’t immediate nor is it without work or warfare but it is ours – a nobility bestowed upon us that can never be challenged.

There will still be those who mock, ridicule and pour contempt on our attempts to escape Cheapside. Their scorn can discourage us in the moment but God’s word reminds us that their voices will one day be silent.

Psalm 123:3-4 ends this way: “Have mercy on us, O LORD, have mercy on us, for we have endured much contempt. We have endured much ridicule from the proud, much contempt from the arrogant.”

I think it’s interesting that this is here in the Song of Ascents and yet, I understand. As pilgrims journey to ascend to the heart of God, those who remain behind call out to them. Perhaps, at first, with pleas to return but then those pleas turn to mocking.

I have close acquaintances and relatives who look for me to do wrong. They search my life for “unchristian” behavior so they can point it out or use it to show me, and themselves, that this “Christian thing” doesn’t work. Sometimes it seems they rejoice when I face difficulties, as if that is proof that God does not love me and I am foolish to believe so.

When I struggle with sin, they use this against me and sometimes I use it against myself.

But then I remember God’s mercy.

Then I remember I can change. I am free to change because of Jesus. I have the hope of change because of Him. I am now of noble blood.

I grew up in a small town called Hope Valley. When I was young, people called it “Hopeless Valley”. All I wanted to do was escape.

Now, though, I live again in this town and I am here joyfully. Now, through Jesus, I have learned that where I come from, who I come from and even the battles I face do not determine who I am or who I become.

I have escaped Cheapside because it isn’t about the geography of the land, it’s about the geography of the soul.

I am a citizen of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and I have received nobility and a knighthood that can never be challenged. I am a citizen of eternal Hope.

Others can laugh or mock or ridicule but as we ascend to the heart of God they will be harder to hear.

We can change. The power of Jesus is the power to change.

Escape Cheapside with us! Come for the journey. You, too, can change your stars.

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2 Comments

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  1. Captivating! Lori, your lighthouse is shining bright with thts piece.

    The message is powerful. Your writing is clear, moving, and just like spring water rushing over blue slate…refreshing. May this article be put before thousands of readers. Write on.

  2. Loved it! Just what I needed to read this morning. Have a blessed day, Lori