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I’m Like Dorothy, Except With A Dachshund

If you aren’t familiar with the movie, The Wizard of Oz (TWOO), I feel sorry for you this post might not make a ton of sense in parts, but Dorothy Gale and friends really came to mind when I began to think of this month’s topic: uncertainty. I promise, I won’t review the entire movie, scene by scene, but boy did it make me think. TWOO depicts a young woman’s journey from the familiar to the uncertain and back again. Let’s look at the beginning of the movie – spoiler alert – there’s a tornado which whisks Dorothy’s house away and knocks her unconscious. Is there anything more uncertain than the path of a tornado? I’m sure we’ve all heard stories about one house being leveled while its neighboring house remained intact when both were in the path of a tornado. We can kind of predict tornadoes. We can sort of warn those around us to take shelter, but there wouldn’t be so many tornado chaser shows on the weather channel (ahem…I’ve heard of them) if we were able to exactly pinpoint the location of a tornado’s touchdown and path with 100% certainty.

In the post-concussive dream that Dorothy has, we know that the tornado drops her home in Oz, and oh, glory!!!—it lands on top of the Wicked Witch of the East, killing her and freeing the wee Munchkin inhabitants from her tyranny, forever! Dorothy is hailed as a heroine, celebrated as neither a good witch, nor a bad witch, and given a gorgeous pair of ruby encrusted shoes to protect her and to help her find her way home. Because, as extraordinarily beautiful as Glinda was, as dear as those Munchkins were, and as techni-colorful as Munchkinland was, Dorothy longed to return to her familiar, predictable, black and white life and to those whom she loved.

Hmmm…imagine being given something so glorious, so colorful and life-giving, yet wanting to return to the comfortable, the known, the certain.

As Dorothy embarks on her journey home, she’s told that she needs to see the “great and powerful” Wizard of Oz of Emerald City, and that he would help her get home. She is never told exactly HOW he would get her home, but that if anyone could help her, the wizard could. Along this uncertain yellow brick road to Emerald City, she meets three friends, each with his own struggle, but each willing to, in the end, sacrifice his own chance at having his need met so that she could have the desire of her heart, first. Oh, and as in every good story, there’s a villain to contend with—the Wicked Witch of the West (sister of the deceased), and her flying monkeys. Shudder. Would Dorothy make it home? Not if the wicked witch had her way…

Well, you’ll have to watch the movie for yourself to see the details; but, again, spoiler alert—Dorothy makes it home.  It’s not because of the shoes (although, I confess I’ve always wanted a pair, and my daughter MAY have dressed up as Dorothy for her first Halloween at 4 months old). It’s because Glinda returns and shares truth with her—that Dorothy has always had everything she needs to return home. But because it’s a movie, and because those shoes needed more camera time, Glinda also tells Dorothy to click her heels together, and repeat, “There’s no place like home” three times.

Life, with its daily battles of spiritual warfare, tends to send tornadoes our way, doesn’t it?

We never quite know where or when the next tornado will hit—whether it’s in the form of a job loss, the grief over the loss of loved ones (through death or irreparable circumstance), illness, and other forms of suffering. Fortunately, God, with His infinitely gracious and generous character, gives us what we need during times of uncertainty. If we choose to lean in rather than freak out (speaking to the chick at the keyboard, here), we find that in times of uncertainty, we are never alone and we look forward to our glorious new home in heaven! God places friends, protectors, and fellow sojourners on the path, so that even as we may be longing for that familiar black and white comfort zone, uncertainty builds our strength and character to be more like His. What’s hard for this comfort zone achiever is that uncertainty absolutely WILL include times of great suffering or sadness. James (Jesus’ half-brother), even exhorts us to:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perserverance. Let perserverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ~James 1:2-4(NIV)

I’m going to tell you something which may surprise you (except not).

I am not a good sufferer for Jesus.

I’m not. I think the root of at least some of my difficulty with uncertainty stems from this heart condition. Service? No problem. You want help with the giving tree, coffee stand, young adult ministry, local charities, etc.? You bet! All in. Ready to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Need prayer? I’m your girl. New and need to sit by a friendly face at church? Yep, come sit by me. Want to get more information about this ministry or study that verse in the Bible together? Sure! But ask me to willingly go into the unknown, where I ONLY have Jesus and will probably suffer? Ugh.  But honestly friends? This is my life’s goal.

If I love Jesus, I need to love all of Him, including the parts that don’t fit into my neat little black and white world.

The more I get to know and fall deeper in love with Jesus, the more I realize that I have two choices: I can choose to embrace times of uncertainty, realizing that they are an essential part of me growing in faith and showing His light NO MATTER THE CIRCUMSTANCE, or I can fight them tooth and nail, shunning all opportunities for growth, while grasping onto the familiar comforts of this earthly home. I am slowly learning that uncertainty brings color, texture, shading, and fullness, the techni-color to life, if you will, because of the people and situations God brings to me as He’s leading me through.

Peter, Paul, Stephen…so many were martyred for their love of Jesus. And Jesus was crucified for His love for me. What will I sacrifice? Will I sacrifice knowing in this life for KNOWING Him in the next?  Yeah, I’m trying to start there–with my daily scoop of God’s word to remind me that Jesus is, was, and will always be the only certainty that matters.  And with my dog, Lowla, who is a little taste of heaven on earth. C’mon. I had to tie in the title.

 

Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Gretchen Hanna
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Gretchen Hanna

Gretchen has blogged for more than a decade, usually tying her faith to her reality, and has guest posted or written for Believe.com, JeanPSullivan.com and other blogs. It’s her honor to be among the writers on Grace & Such, and she is currently not only found here and at Musings with Gretch, but is also holding hands open for other writing (blogging and otherwise) and speaking opportunities as she waits upon God’s unfolding plans for her.
Gretchen Hanna
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11 Comments

  1. Sarah Robinson on January 22, 2018 at 9:51 AM

    Now I’m curious about the second movie of Dorothy! Evenso, you have described our need for the secure knowledge that we are His, and we can overcome. Not too crazy about the refining process either, over here. Thanks for sharing.

    • Gretchen on January 23, 2018 at 1:22 AM

      Thank you, Sarah, for your encouraging words.

  2. Jen on January 22, 2018 at 12:10 PM

    “But ask me to willingly go into the unknown, where I ONLY have Jesus and will probably suffer?”

    I super stink at this. And it’s become my reluctant prayer, quickly followed by confession that it scares me and I don’t wanna.

    It’s all a process, right??

    • Gretchen on January 23, 2018 at 1:23 AM

      Processes are so harrrrd sometimes! Thank you for living it alongside me.

  3. Amber on January 23, 2018 at 8:47 AM

    Dang, girl.

    This is perfection.

    • Gretchen on January 23, 2018 at 10:08 PM

      Thank you for reading and the seeet words. High praise from a writer I do admire.

      • Gretchen on January 23, 2018 at 10:09 PM

        Ugh — so admire, not do admire.

  4. Sarah Eshleman on January 24, 2018 at 9:19 AM

    As a fellow dachshund “parent,”I thought this title was so fun!! I wonder how different the story would have been had Toto been a dachshund? 😉

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Gretchen Hanna on January 27, 2018 at 4:00 PM

      Thanks for stopping by, Sarah! Toto should’ve been a dachshund; the story would’ve had a much more stubborn twist. 🙂

  5. Cole // Cole Smith Writes on January 27, 2018 at 8:13 PM

    I feel like I need to read the book(s) now!? And that you need these:
    https://www.amazon.com/snoozies-Ballerina-Metallic-Slippers-X-Large/dp/B00DQUXFXA/ref=br_lf_m_by4yeb3ujfm24vc_img?_encoding=UTF8&s=shoes

    I love your quote: “…imagine being given something so glorious, so colorful and life-giving…” It reminds me that, hey! I *have* been given something like that, and many times it gets lost in the black-and-white routine tasks of my day.

  6. Diane on January 31, 2018 at 9:37 AM

    This movie has yet another analogy for your/our story. Although it was one of the first movies (Gone with the Wind was the other first!) that launched in color (at least the Oz portions of the movie), I never saw it in color until years later. I was too young to see it on the big screen (it came out in 1939), so the version I grew up on was shown every single year on my b/w TV on one of the 3 network channels. I was 11 years old when my parents finally had saved enough to buy a color TV, and then only because the 3 networks required a color set to even see the b/w shows! (something to do with the toaster-sized transistors required to catch the signals..??)

    The first time I saw it in color changed everything. Suddenly the land of Oz was ablaze in color. The b/w OZ was ok, and it was fun, but when the color bloomed on the screen you just wanted to stay there forever. It made Oz even more magical than before. It forever changed my memory of that magical, mysterious movie of lions and tigers and bears, oh my!! you and your little dog too! oh my the many great lines…(can you tell I am a fan?)

    So don’t delay, my friend. Colorize your world now. You will forever be changed by the hand of the Painter who gives us brightness often where we least expect it! And thanks for inspiring the rest of us to do the same!

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