Flying monkeys vs light saber
Remember how you get to the end of the movie and then Toto pulls back the curtain and you discover that the Great and Powerful Oz is really just an ordinary man who has no extraordinary powers at all? Remember the first time you saw that? Remember how indignant you were that someone with no real power caused such fear and turmoil, all the while knowing he could not give Dorothy and her friends the things he’d promised?
As usual, art mirrors life.
It seems like the world is full of bad news. Violence, injustice, poverty, sickness…it’s one thing after another. I can’t say that any of that surprises me. 2000 years ago Jesus mentioned that things were going to get worse, and that we shouldn’t be shocked by that. So I’m not.
What I find distressing, however, is the reaction of so many around me. Those of us who are children of the Light should not be getting our prophecies from CNN or Fox News or whatever talking head is preaching doom and gloom and the global collapse of __________ (fill in the blank). We should not be dwelling on, repeating, or otherwise absorbing every negative report that comes barreling over the TV, radio, or internet. Nor should we be huddling with others, trading what-ifs, and stirring up fear and anger.
I’m no Pollyanna. And it’s not that I’m hiding my head in the sand. It’s not that I can’t see that the world is getting darker, seemingly by the day. It is. But I get to choose how I will respond to that darkness.
Listen to these words:
“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
2 See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
3 Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Isaiah 60: 1-3
The world may be getting darker, but we lovers of God respond by arising, by shining. God’s glory rests on us, and it attracts nations and rulers. We attract those who stumble in darkness…but when they come near us, we ruin that darkness by radiating His light.
We can’t afford to be double-minded. We can’t afford to allow ourselves to fall into the mindset that we have a big devil and a little God. We are not on the defensive here, battling a big scary world. We are eternal beings who represent an eternal kingdom. We’re on the winning side. And we are loved with a deep passion that sets us free to love others. Even those who do not love us.
The power of life and death is in the tongue, in words. Every word you take in or speak out will either grow life, hope and love…or it will grow anger, fear, bitterness, or depression. You get to pick. You are the steward of you. You don’t have to panic just because some analyst on the TV said you should. You don’t have to lay down hope just because some computer program projects a dismal outlook for _________ (yeah, fill in the blank again).
The dark powers of this world are ramping up the activity, hoping to intimidate and coerce the lovers of the Light. All those promises that if you’ll just _______ (you know what to do with a blank by now), then you will be ok are not true. They stir up anxiety and turmoil, and they do not have the power to keep those promises. Our best efforts, when motivated by fear, anxiety, or anger, will at most produce false security and an illusion of safety.
I represent a kingdom that is not in an economic recession. I represent a kingdom where health care means being healed by the power and name of Jesus. I represent a kingdom where joy triumphs over fear, anger, and depression. I represent a kingdom where injustice is wiped out by the compassion of individuals, not a government system. I represent a kingdom where love wins.
Dorothy had a pretty amazing adventure. Enchanted forests, wicked witches, flying monkeys, and opposition at every turn. But she was motivated by a single vision: home. Nothing was too daunting for her if it got her home. May I have such an intense focus. May every obstacle be viewed through the lens of expanding the kingdom for my King.
And going home.