Since I’m new to blogging, I had a fleeting, stupid thought this morning.
What if I run out of things to write about?
Just as quickly as the thought came, I apologized to Jesus. Sorry, Jesus, dumb thought! That’s like saying God is going to stop communicating or stop teaching us things. Won’t happen.
Laughing to myself, I was standing in my closet gathering some clothes when He dropped a song in my mind. God is funny sometimes. I hadn’t thought of it in 20 years. It was a song by a group named Truth from the early ’90’s called “People Keep Writing Him Songs.” The basic theme of the song is that for 2000 years, people have been learning about God and writing Him songs. Yep, 20 more years later and it’s still happening. I guess it applies to blogs too.
God is everywhere, in everything and always speaking.
Take Hollywood, for example. It’s not a group of people necessarily known for their enduring moral values. Yet they repeatedly produce TV shows and movies that have stories of good vs. evil, heroism, sacrifice, redemption and forgiveness. People that don’t necessarily have a relationship with God are still driven by tendencies that He put in them to create. It’s in their DNA. (I realize there is plenty out of Hollywood that doesn’t have redemptive qualities, but if you keep looking you will begin to see spiritual themes emerge.) It’s comical because they can’t help themselves.
I am always amused by even commercials that communicate God’s truth inadvertently.
How about this one: “We Treat You, Like You’d Treat You.” (Discovercard)
They probably don’t realize that when they created the marketing campaign, they were actually agreeing with the words of Jesus. (Matthew 22:39) “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus understands good customer service!
Here’s another one: “You are More Powerful Than You Think.” (iPhone)
Isn’t that what the Apostle Paul was trying to say when he wrote, “All glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think?” (Ephesians 3:20)
And another: “Impossible is Nothing.” (Adidas)
This is almost direct plagiarism of Jesus again in Matthew 19:26. “But with God everything is possible.”
These marketing campaigns work because they are actually based on principles of truth. People who don’t have a relationship with God still can easily recognize on some level the truth even though they may not be consciously aware.
God communicates through movies, through commercials, through repeated themes in our entertainment industry all the time.
Star Wars is another obvious example. A special group, Jedi, fight against bad guys with the help of the Force, which aids them when they need it, teaches them skills and leads them to what they need to know. The Force helps Jedi have intimate knowledge of situations and mystic enablement to win over the enemy. Sound familiar?
I have three older teenagers, so our home is filled with Marvel, Avengers, The Flash, Scorpion and all other manner of superhero shows. What do they all have in common? Normal looking people who have unique or supernatural abilities, using said abilities to thwart forces of evil. They are the same story, just different versions of the same thing.
Why are we drawn to this? Why are these the top grossing productions in America? Because it’s who we are. Did you know that we can possess special abilities meant to be used to help each other, thwart evil and change the world?
All through the Bible, normal every day people were given special abilities to fulfill their purpose. Joseph was given dreams from God and the ability to interpret other people’s dreams. His abilities were used to be the catalyst that enabled an entire nation to be saved from years of famine. Daniel and his friends were given abilities as well to carry out their purposes.
God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams. (Daniel 1:17)
Paul wrote about the special abilities from the Holy Spirit that are available for us today. In fact, he told us to “desire the special abilities the Spirit gives.” With them we actually get to be superheroes through His power and change the world around us. Imagine that, He chooses to work through us, enabling us to do what we couldn’t normally do ourselves for the encouragement of others.
In the spring of 2015, God showed me again how He will speak through unexpected sources. I had a crazy experience when I took my daughter to see the Cinderella Movie. We settled in to the theatre, thinking we knew what to expect.
Five minutes into the movie I was sobbing, and it continued all the way through. I didn’t know what was happening. What is wrong with me? It’s just Cinderella! I was sitting in the theater in some sort of spiritual swirling tornado, every scene revealing its deeper symbolism and meaning. Pieces of God’s heart, His plans, His love, His provision… it’s all there. I had never seen it that way before. I frantically searched in my purse for some paper and something to write with but finding neither I gave up and just watched in astonishment. For days afterwards I was still reeling over it.
God’s plan of redemption is depicted in that familiar story. First, we see His original intentions for man including resources, happiness, blessing, relational goodness, family. Tragedy follows and things go terribly downhill from there, leading to tremendous hardship, grief, disillusionment, desperate darkness. Evil winning. Hopelessness.
Then one day, when it seemed all hope was lost, an unexpected amazing event occurs and a person appears with sweeping plans and an over-the-top solution for her good, to do for her what Cinderella couldn’t possibly do for herself.
And even though she was handed a sudden, outrageous opportunity, she still had to choose to walk forward in the crazy, risky plan. By faith she threw off fear and went all-in, even though a number of things could have gone wrong.
This resulted in complete defeat of the enemy (evil stepmother), deception revealed, and appropriate punishment for Cinderella’s oppressors. The happy couple could now choose to walk forward into the beautiful plan for their lives that had been redeemed for them.
Towards the end of the movie, there were two scenes that symbolize our ability to move forward in what God has planned for us. The evil stepmother had locked Cinderella in the attic, so that the king’s men could not find her, the owner of the glass slipper. Finally they realize she is up there, and the men break down the door. In a moment of desperation, the evil stepmother, seething with hatred, throws one more nasty punch to her saying, “Remember who you really are.”
She was saying in those words, “Remember you are a poor peasant girl, you are nothing, you are not loved, you are not worth it, you are not anything that deserves a prince.” Recognize that voice? That’s the enemy of our souls who comes to us daily with his lies. He accuses us day and night. He is relentless. He hates us. His goal is always to get us to come into agreement with him, which will always be the exact opposite of the truth.
And finally, in one last defining scene, after Cinderella is revealed and her prince accepts her completely without question for who she is, they walk down the stairs of the house to the rest of the royal entourage. A profound moment happens when Cinderella turns to the stepmother who has tormented her for years. She simply says, “I forgive you.”
She cuts the chains of unforgiveness, steps into her new life free from her painful past, free to to be who she is, loved, accepted, cherished and honored.
I hope this sounds familiar to you. The Cinderella story is my story and your story. Why do little girls want to be princesses? Duh, because they already are! Their spirit knows it as a young child.
We are born with the desire to be someone, to matter, to make a difference, to be heroes. We are the King’s literal beloved children. You are loved, cherished and meant to live in freedom, using the gifts you are given by Him.
It’s time we believed about ourselves what God is continually saying we are.
Oh, and if you think there is spiritual symbolism represented in Star Wars and Cinderella, don’t even get me started on Kung Fu Panda 3!