Ever believe something your whole life, only to find out you're wrong?
Let me tell you a story about that!
Years and years ago, when I was a very little girl – (OK, you strict blogging buddies – years and years and eons ago…). Where was I? Oh yeah, a long time ago when I was a little girl I watched the Disney movie, "Dumbo."
I loved that movie.
Dumbo was so cute, and so sweet. And I completely identified with his innocent and timid ways. And yes, Timothy almost cured me of my fear of mice – not quite – but he certainly was less *eekish* than real mice!
I loved that movie – but I also didn't like it at all.
Because the scenes between Dumbo and his mother were heartbreaking. When she got captured, I felt sick. And when Dumbo came to see his mom in that cage – and that little scene with them entwining their trunks, and then pulling apart – well, I sobbed for days.
I remember talking to my own mother.
And she tried her best to console me.
Many years later, my oldest son – (who was probably a toddler at the time) – and I went to my mom's house to visit. My sister was there. And we decided to watch a movie. I thought I'd let my *big* boy choose which movie. Of course, he chose Dumbo.
I wasn't sure what to do. I looked at my sister over his head and mouthed, "What do you think?"
Because both she and I knew something about the movie Dumbo – Dumbo's mother dies.
We decided we would let my son watch the movie, and then make up some happy ending for it so he wouldn't be traumatized. We sat right next to him. Crying, waiting for the moment when we’d have to "fake" the happy ending.
Except, it never came.
There actually WAS a happy ending.
After an amazing performance, Dumbo became a media sensation. Timothy became his manager. And lo and behold, in the last scene, there is Dumbo's mom, big as life (literally) – dancing along in a joyous parade. (Turns out, she and Dumbo are given a private car on the circus train).
My sister and I both turned to my mom, who was in the kitchen.
In unison, "Mom, you told us Dumbo's mother died."
She, rather sheepishly, replied, "Doesn't she?"
We adamantly blurted, "NO!!"
Mom, now rather pink in the cheeks, said, "Oh. Sorry. I guess I never watched the end of the movie."
We all laughed. Now, I never resented my mom for letting me (accidentally) believe all these many years that Mrs. Jumbo died. But tell you what, it always made me avoid that movie, or even thinking about it. It was too sad.
(Now I just have to avoid "Bambi" – that one really IS sad…)
Got to thinking about this the other day.
How sometimes, because we are just so sure of how a story ends, we can make a judgment that's all wrong.
I think about how I always viewed the Garden of Eden story – until just recently. I always thought God was so mean making Adam and Eve leave the garden. It always seemed to me like such a harsh punishment. And then, to place scary, fiery angels at the entrance to chase them off.
Cruel was the word I chose…
But then, years later, I heard it explained – from God's perspective.
It wasn't cruelty – it was love – tough love.
God was preventing Adam and Eve from living eternally in their state of sin. He was pushing them out of the garden, so that someday He could rescue them forever. He knew staying in the garden meant separation – ultimate separation – but leaving meant the chance for reconciliation.
He made them leave so they could die – and only in their dying – and the future dying of His Son – would they ever have a chance at Life!
God, wise and merciful.
The story of the Garden of Eden didn't end like I always thought it did. Not in punishment, but in provision. Not in anger, but in love.
How many other stories is God writing that I just don’t foresee the correct ending?
Or the ending at all, for that matter?
Are there situations that I have already deemed "hopeless"? Are there people I have given up on, written off because I "know" how their story ends?
Are there dreams I've put aside because I know they'll never happen?
Are there things I'll never try to do because I'm sure I'll fail?
Do I sometimes view struggles and suffering as God's punishment, when it just might be (and most probably is) His tough love for me?
What if I waited – just waited – on the Lord…
And just watched for how HE ends the stories.
Even my story.
Because I tell you what – when all is said and done, at the end of my movie, after all, Mrs. Sharon doesn't die!
Is there a story that you've already *pre-determined* how it's going to end? Might you just be wrong?!
Linked today with Joan at the GRACE CAFE
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"