Monday, October 18, 2010
Smoke and Mirrors and Shifting Shadows (written for my church newsletter)
I'm just going to come out and admit this.... call me unAmerican, crazy, a fun-hater, whatever.... but I really, really do NOT care for The Wizard of Oz.
I know it's a classic and every child in the world is supposed to delight in this story. But not me, never, ever, ever... It could be the screaming, flying monkeys which I should be able to view now that I'm all grown up. But. I just can't/won't watch it to figure out if the monkeys did indeed permanently scar me.
But, in my childhood exposures while I watched through my barely cracked open fingers, I did pick up on a few things that have stuck with me through the years (besides another irrational fear -- being sprinkled with water.) The biggest take away from the movie is the utter disappointment the characters felt upon discovering that the wizard was just a little man with impressive tricks.
I don't know if there is anything more discouraging than finding that someone is not who they appear to be. And here we go, segueing into spiritual things now. (You were wondering weren't you?)
For years I struggled with disappointment with others...and in myself. I knew that my intentions were usually good but that my follow through often lacked. And I saw this same syndrome in others.... a dropping of the ball, a twisting of the truth, a miscommunication, a selfish motivation. These little tiny things began to erode my trust in the basic goodness of humanity. I began to see that no matter how amazing or Godly a person seemed, when push came to shove, or the offer was high enough, a crack would begin to appear and the darkness of sin would ooze out. And. My faith in the goodness of humanity needed to be shaken, because, we really are creatures with dark motivations. But with this brutal realization came a shaking of my belief in God's character. After all, it does stand to reason that if the humanity created in God's image each contained a teeny, tiny seed of selfishness, that God did too. Right?
So it was with skepticism that I trusted Him, watching, waiting for Him to disappoint me.
Have you ever had a verse or Scripture leap out of the Bible and grab your heart, forever changing you? Talk about living, active, Word of God. Praise the Lord, I have and one of these moments addressed my fear of smoke, mirrors, parlor tricks and of peeking behind the Wizard's curtain.
James 1: 16 -17 Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
There is no dark, center core to God. No shadows within Him and His heart toward us. No tricks, no cover-ups, no looming "unveiling" of an impotent God. He is pure light. His love for us is pure and generous. His forgiveness is without tricks, strings or a list that will become historical documentation attached to our permanent file. God is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present and He loves us. He is a coach, a champion, a reward giver, a loving father, a brother and our provider as well as the King of kings and Lord of lords. What a blessing to know that in the age we are in where so many are working out their own path to salvation with fear and lies, that the truth is pure, clear and shadow-free.