One Day You'll Understand

Have you ever seen the movie, The Neverending Story?  As a child, it was one of my favorites.  It had it all:  a love of books, fantasy, adventure.  It was an enjoyable and unique tale, but it wasn't until recently that I took the opportunity to read the book.  Oh wow!  What a masterfully-woven story, indeed!  The movie is actually pretty true to the book, but the ending of the movie is only halfway through the book.  The rest of the book is the story of Bastian's rebuilding of Fantastica, and honestly, that's where things get truly intriguing.

The thing that has most amazed me as I'm reading is how often I feel as if I'm reading an allegory such as The Chronicles of Narnia.  There are so many moral lessons and even spiritual applications, although I'm not sure that the author intended any of it.  Nevertheless, I see it, and I'm spellbound.

One of the most powerful lessons I've seen is that what we think we want is not always what's best for us.  Take Bastian, for example.  In our world, he was a chubby, clumsy, unpopular child.  He had no friends, and even his father didn't seem to care what happened to him.  When Bastian is transported to Fantastica, he is given the task of rebuilding the kingdom, and to do so, all he has to do is wish.  With a single wish, he can make any dream come true. 

Naturally, some of the first things Bastian wishes for are good looks, courage, strength, wisdom and popularity.  Unfortunately, there is a downside to his wishing, for with every wish, he loses a memory of who he was before he came to Fantastica.  And so, as the story moves on, Bastian goes through many changes.  The more he wishes for things for himself, the more of himself he loses.  What was once a kind, compassionate soul is now cruel and arrogant.  He sees himself as wonderful, better than anyone or anything, but Atreyu, the one true friend that has known him from the beginning, sees the transformation that has taken place because of Bastian's desires to be the exact opposite of what he was.

The more I read of Bastian's transformation, the more thankful I've become that God doesn't always give me what I want.  I ask for sunshine, and He gives rain.  I ask for more money, and He sends more bills.  I ask for healing, but my cries seem to fall on deaf ears.  But now, more than ever, I see and understand that the things that I want may not be for my good.  Those changes could change me, and not for the better.  Perhaps it's all the "bad things" in life that have made me the person I am today.  If I, like Bastian, could wish away the "bad" and bring to life my own desires, who would I become?  Would I still be compassionate and tenderhearted?  Would I still have a desire to serve the Lord?  Would pride and self-sufficiency become my gods?

By the way, as Bastian has transformed and wished for more and more things to make him happy, he's become more miserable.  With each wish, he grows more solemn and melancholy.  In a state of paranoia, he sent away his only true friend, and now, he sulks and pouts, no longer sure what he wants to wish for.  Unlimited wishes didn't bring him peace and happiness.  If anything, they drove it away.  Having our own way could do the same!

So today, I offer you this challenge.  Instead of fussing and complaining about not having the things we want, let's thank God for not allowing us to have them.  Let's praise Him for His great love that is so encompassing that He'll risk our anger at Him just to ensure that we have what is best for us.  Let us thank Him for caring enough to protect us from our own desires in order to build and maintain our character.  Remember a loving parent is not the one who showers his/her child with everything the child could ever ask for.  A loving parent is one who cares for the child enough to say, "No, you don't need that, and one day, you'll understand why."

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have four chapters left to read, and I don't think I can wait any longer!

If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? - Luke 11:11-13