Recently the Wolfe Nine met for a day at Disney World. This involved family members traveling from Maryland, Georgia and Hawaii to converge in Orlando. Two of the granddaughters are not yet one, but we supposed the 3 1/2-year-old would love the gentler rides in the Magic Kingdom. It wasn’t like we planned to start her out on Space Mountain’s roller coaster!
You’ll notice the skepticism on Little Stuff’s face as juxtaposed to her Father’s wide-eyed calm and concentration in this photo! What did we miss as we presumed she’d be thrilled with all the rides we had chosen?
Well, things she knows in the light disappear in the darkness of Peter Pan and Pooh Bear’s rides. Once inside a moving car, we traverse turns and twists that pull us in and out of shadows and blackness. Reminds me of some of my bouts with pain.
As soon as Daddy recognized his daughter’s fears, he immediately moved to console her. The Disney experience we adults all understood aimed to help Little Stuff understand some of the new Pooh Bear stories she’d received for Christmas. The ride definitely did not have the intended response.
In retrospect, I realized that many experiences in the dark come to all those who live with chronic pain or other forms of fear and suffering such as ALS. Actually, any trial reveals our presuppositions about life, self, and most importantly, about God. Did we somewhere start thinking this life would or should be easy? That nothing unpleasant should befall us? Does every conversation we have center on our latest tests, doctor’s appointments or new aches? (Ouch. I am guilty of this one!) And what presuppositions have crept into our theology? J. B Phillips, in his classic Your God is Too Small, reminds us that the sugar daddy view of God is an inadequate, not to mention unbiblical, concept of God.
To remain anchored in the midst of pain requires that we prepare our minds for action while we live in the light, or those times when pain does not demand center stage. What do we learn, memorize and review about the Word of God and the salvation made possible through Christ’s completed work on the cross? Misplaced faith multiplies our misery in this life and has dire consequences for eternity. While in the light, we each need to grasp with increasing certainty the mercy, salvation,hope and grace that are ours through Christ’s resurrection. Believers in Christ live through pain and suffering protected by the power of God through faith and we know we have an inheritance kept for us. If we meditate on the truths of Scripture daily, we plan for more than a rainy day. When we go through the dark times, the Holy Spirit reminds us what God has revealed to us in the light. Hope it’s a sunny week where we can learn in the light!