This past winter, we began reading novels with our girls in the evenings before bed. We began with Roald Dahl’s
and then ventured into C.S. Lewis’s classic,
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
. Our Lucy was named after Lucy Pevensie from the series, so she especially enjoyed that one. After we have finished each book, we pick a night to snuggle up on the couch, pop some popcorn, and watch the movie together. It has been so fun to see and hear the girls’ reactions as the characters from these stories come to life onscreen. When the action scenes get a bit scary or all seems lost, we remind them that they already
the end of the story. They know that there is always hope, and sometimes we have to sit in the scary and uncomfortable parts for a bit—leaning on our faith over our fear.
Last night we finished
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
, another Roald Dahl favorite, and I was so struck by the final scene. (Warning, spoilers ahead). Charlie Bucket, Grandpa Joe, and Mr. Willy Wonka himself come crashing into the Bucket family’s ramshackle cottage on the edge of town with their flying glass elevator. Mr. Wonka has just told Charlie that he is bestowing upon him his beloved chocolate factory, and he wants Charlie’s whole family to come live and work in the factory as well. Charlie’s family has been living in abject poverty for as long as he can remember. Sustained by bits of bread and watery cabbage soup, so this is pretty great news. You would think that, upon hearing this life changing news, Charlie’s family would be jumping for joy and edging out the door to embark upon their new life. However, this is not the case…
Grandma Josephine is the first to object, stating that she would, “rather die in my bed” than go with that crazy man offering them the world. She, and the other members of Charlie’s family, cannot imagine what this new life might be like, and the life that is known to them, however uncomfortable, seems safer than whatever this strange man in a flying elevator might be offering—however wonderful it might be. I often find myself in a similar place as Grandma Josephine in the story. My fear of the unknown, or just my fear in general, can often outweigh my faith in our good God.
He offers me abundant life, peace, hope, and unending love
. Yet, my expectations of what those promises really mean for my life and the life of those I love are so limited. I wonder if what I really fear is being disappointed. This is truly demonstrated in how I pray and what I do (and do not) pray for—my unwillingness to ask God for what really is on my mind and in my heart.
The Weight of Glory
, C.S. Lewis writes, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Too often I settle for mud pies, afraid that if I ask for what I really hope, I will be disappointed. As I reflect upon this truth, I am struck by the fact that the real problem is forgetting who it is my faith is in. People tend to be disappointing. We hurt each other and let each other down. We promise the world and can’t deliver. But, we, as Christians, are not called to put our faith in people, we are called to put our faith in God—the God who made us, sustains us, and even raises the dead. In 2 Corinthians 1:9-10, the Apostle Paul writes, “Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead… On him we have set our hope…”
When we put our faith in the right place, we don’t need to fear the unknown. We already know the end of the story. We don’t need to settle, and we don’t need to fear asking for what we truly hope and what we really need. We don’t need to settle for mud pies and watery cabbage soup when we have a God who calls us to “abundant life.” My hope for you and for myself is that we would not fear asking God for big things as we begin to move forward in this new world.
After all, we already know the end of the story.