Oz or God?

“The Wizard of Oz” is one of the favorite stories and films of all time. Someone once suggested the reason for this is that most of us can relate well to Dorothy, because “we, too, find ourselves surrounded by brainless, heartless, and spineless people.”

Actually, there are many important lessons found in the story that touch both our hearts and minds. However, we can be led astray if we take the tale too seriously, especially if we start to think that God is very similar to the Wizard of Oz.

The Wizard, of course, pretends to be great and powerful, but actually he is just a balding professor who can stage a good light show. Despite his many lofty claims, the reality is he has no brain for the Scarecrow, no heart for the Tin Man, is unable to give courage to the Lion, and cannot get Dorothy and Toto back to Kansas. What the Wizard can do, however, is assure everyone that they already possess what they think they need. He notes that as they dealt with the Wicked Witch, the Scarecrow displayed wisdom, the Tin Man showed compassion, and the Lion demonstrated courage. In the end, Dorothy, too, learns that she doesn’t need help from anyone else to get back home. By just clicking the heels of the ruby slippers together she can go home anytime she chooses. The moral of the story seems clear: everything you may need, you already have. The answer to any problem you may face is to just look deeper inside yourself, because that is where you will find the answer.

Now, what I just said probably sounds familiar because it is an idea which is often advocated by much of the media, many schools, and even some churches. This way of thinking, however, is quite contrary to what the Bible teaches. According to Scripture, the solutions to our problems and answers to our questions cannot be found within ourselves. Rather, it is when we turn to the living God, the triune God, and put our trust in Him that we begin find what we really need in life. Unlike the Wizard, God’s power is very real. We can be confident He is able to do whatever is necessary to accomplish His purposes. In fact, while the Wizard greatly disappointed Dorothy and her friends, those who look to the Lord will find that He is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” (Ephesians 3:20)

Friends, I will probably always find it a treat to watch “The Wizard of Oz.” I want to make sure, however, that whenever I need help, I choose to turn not to a wizard, to my friends, or inside myself. Instead, the God of the Bible is the one to whom I must turn, because He is the one able and willing to provide what we really need.
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Dan Erickson