Yesterday I went to see my housemate in his school play (he’s 11). He was two different characters in the play The Wizard of Oz. There was a beautiful line in the play in which one of the characters says he isn’t even sure if The Great Oz is real, and they then find out that he is, and one of them says “If only we could see him!”
At that point, my housemate looked at me and winked, referring to my ongoing uncertainty about the divine, and a conversation we had earlier in the day where I was saying I wish I had been around when Jesus walked the earth, as I felt like that would have left me with half a chance.
What’s interesting is that when they come face to face with the Wizard of Oz, the characters are left disappointed, let down, scared, confused and bewildered. They return from their quest for the witch’s broom to discover that the Wizard is not who they thought he was. He is not an all-powerful, commanding, feared being. He is simply a man behind a mask. Yet the protagonists realise that they already had what they were looking for – with his help. So he is essential.
It got me thinking – I wonder if that is how it is with God. We see God as this almighty, all powerful character who we need in order to get by in life, when in reality God wants to enable us. He wants us to see the potential within ourselves. It’s not that the Wizard was not there – simply that he wasn’t who they thought he was. So perhaps it is with God. We have an understanding of who God is, and when we discover he is something different, we aren’t so happy.
Perhaps that’s because we react in the same way to the protagonists in the play. We are disappointed, dejected, hopeless, lost. Yet the Wizard was essential to their plight – he was able to show them the way to what they wished to discover about themselves. I’m not suggesting that God wants us to be self sufficient, but perhaps the way he wants to do things is very different to what we – what I – expect, and that’s why I have been left feeling disappointed.