The following post is written by my husband Chad. He enjoyed writing his last post “A Tribute to My Heroes,” so he asked to write another post. He is such a stud! I also want to add this disclaimer BEFORE you read his post: we LOVE going to Disneyland and will be returning there as often as we can. In fact, we got engaged there, on August 30th 2007. So if you are a Disney fan, don’t be sending us any meanie weanie emails after you read this! May your heart be challenged with the lesson that is presented here…
Anyone who knows me understands that Disneyland is a part of me. Once a year, since at least 1988, I have made the trek to a Disney park. Even though I do the same routine every year, there is still something magical about every trip to “The Happiest Place on Earth.” As I made my annual trip this past February, I found myself learning something new, a feat that is rarely accomplished on such a routine trip.
As I passed the entrance tunnel into the park, I marveled at the plaque.
This entrance plaque, a quote by Walt Disney himself, sums up my feelings about these trips. Whenever I enter Disneyland, I am able to put the cares of the world outside, and focus on a place seemingly devoid of the choas of the outside world. The center of the park has a “Fantasyland”, but the park itself serves as
an illusion of peace in a chaotic world.
A One Degree Moment
As I boarded Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, God had a lesson for me. The ride began as it always does. I checked my seatbelt, the car lurched forward, and we looked into the eyes of Mara, despite Indy’s warnings. The familiar John Williams theme to the Indiana Jones movies blared in the speaker next to my head, and we rounded the first curve into the skeleton room. And then the ride stopped.
Mind you, to any true Disney fan, this is considered a stroke of unimaginable good fortune. With baited breath, I waited for the opportunity fate seemed to be presenting me. After several more minutes, the lights came on. This was the moment I had hoped for!
What a disappointment it was…
Disney Imagineers are masters at deception
Despite the fact that I wanted to see what the ride looked like with the lights on, when it actually happened, I realized that I was sitting in an illusion (the ride) within another illusion (the park). The ride was very well done with the painting and set design, but without the blacklights and soundtrack, it was nothing more than a set.
Then it hit me: the war in Afghanistan continues, cancer is eating away at some of my loved ones, and the value of my house continues to decline. I had faked myself into believing that none of that existed while in the park.
The ride started back up again, but the lights stayed on and the soundtrack was turned off for the rest of the ride.
The magic was gone
That day in Disneyland, I finally learned a lesson that the prophet Isaiah tried to tell the children of Israel 2800 years ago. In Isaiah 30:9-11, Isaiah laments,
“For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the LORD; who say to the seers, ‘Do not see,’ and to the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.'”
While at Disneyland, I pay the Disney management a hefty sum to speak smooth things to me and show me illusions so that I don’t have to think about the horrible things outside the gates. However, when the lights came on in the Indy ride, I realized that I was in an illusion. I realized that the world outside of the gates was my reality.
God is calling me to shine His light into it. Yet, how often do I act like the children of Israel once I am outside the Disneyland gates?
The Spirit of God calls me to carry out His will, yet how often do I desire things to go smoothly, or believe illusions so that I don’t have to listen to Him and carry out my will instead? How often have you or I started to despise what is right and ignored the truth of Scripture so that we can continue rebelling?
Thankfully, though, God has a habit of turning the lights on during our ride through life, doesn’t He?