Monday, May 3, 2010

First Star to the Right and Straight on Till Morning

Last night I went to bed early. I was quite tired and pressed down by the weight of all I had done and all I have left to do in the days ahead. I was lying in bed groggily looking out my bedroom window at the single bright point of light in the dark sky. I stared at it and it twinkled merrily back. "First star to the right and straight on till morning," I muttered to myself. That little star (which I realize was probably not a star at all but rather the planet Venus) looked so far away and so inviting.

I've never really been much of a Peter Pan fan. It's kind of an odd story, and I was never really captivated by pirates the way some children are. I do understand the thirst for freedom and adventure all to well, however, and that's the feeling that seeped into my veins as I sleepily gazed at that star. How grand it would be to travel to some far off place where I could discover new things, make new friends, and live a grand adventure. How nice it would be to battle lugubrious pirates instead of fighting my current enemies: sin, bills, my own weakness and fatigue, and the demons who try to trip me up when I'm  not paying attention. How lovely it would be to spend a little time in a fantasy land where nothing I did really mattered because it was just a story, after all.

My life isn't a grand and carefree adventure. It's a more serious and pedestrian journey than I might like, but it also has more character development and more personal growth than Peter Pan's. All of us have moments when we wish we didn't have to grow up, but that's because we don't like the baggage that comes with growing up. Growing up in and of itself is actually a marvelous thing. We get to learn new things and develop new skills and insights. We are refined from a rough sketch to a polished masterpiece as we grow up.

The trouble is really the pressure that comes with growing up. As we grow we are entrusted with more, and it matters more and more how our stories turn out. God gives us talents and resources, and He expects us to use them well. That puts a bit of pressure on us to try to get things right. At the same time, God is motivated to help us get it right, so He helps carry some of the weight. We can't fly or imagine things into reality, but God can carry us and give us the power to do what He asks of us.

Magic and adventure seem like easy outs to me sometimes, but they pale in comparison to God's power and abiding love. I don't need to escape from my life because God is going to make sure I make it through just fine. That twinkling star was beautiful, but it was also quite nice to be warm in my bed with a loving God watching over me.

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