Somewhere Over the Rainbow?
By Lori D'Augostine
-- Yesterday morning, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. It seemed that the world around me woke up on the wrong side too. The skies were gray and there wasn't a bluebird in sight.
My face looked a lot like the image that you see to the right. I was Dorothy, hoping for another world... wishing I could find a rainbow to sing about.
My morning rituals seemed dreadfully mundane and laborious -- it was a wonder I mustered enough wherewithal to brush my teeth.
How pathetic that my first prayer consisted of, Please Lord, make me invisible. I don't want to talk to anyone.
When I got to work, I finally bolstered up enough courage to let the security guard know that I didn't have my badge. Then, my head sunk even lower, as a colleague/prophet of God passed by and inquired, "Did you forget your name?"
Huh, forget my name? Of course I remembered my name, I thought. What on earth was that person talking about?
The security guard chuckled and said, "Do you think you could ever forget your name?"
Well, maybe that's what was missing. Perhaps I left my identity at home. Of course my identity isn't locked into what's on a name badge, but I know that my name certainly means something I should wear and own.
You see, my name "Lori," means "Victorious." And, that's what I was determined to be. And so it was... like a warrior fit for battle, I marched up the stairs to my office.
It didn't take but a few minutes for the gray skies to re-appear. Victorious Lori began to shrink back to Debbie Downer. I needed something more. Oh Jesus...
Jesus, Jesus, JESUS!!! Yes, THAT'S IT -- JESUS is who I truly am today. The clouds rolled away, and I was now determined to wear His name as my badge of honor and courage.
Instead of rendering myself completely useless for the rest of the day, I lifted my head high determined to be JESUS to my world.
In just that instant, there was no one like Jesus, and my black and white world entered into a Technicolor Oz-like transformation. I found myself Over the Rainbow thinking that my troubles would "melt like lemon drops away above the chimney tops."
I ventured out on my yellow-brick road...
I'm off to see Jesus, the Wonderful Lord of all...
My first stop... was to answer telethon calls. I thought for sure my opportunity to see and be Jesus would come there. But, there were no calls for me that day.
I continued singing...
I'm off to be Jesus, the... WHO?
Wait a second... Who is Jesus? [And why am I singing this corny song?]
[Side note: Did you ever wonder... If Dorothy really knew that the Wizard was a meager midget, whether she'd still have sung her yellow-brick road song? I wonder. Remember her shock when she pulled back the curtain?]
It was time to draw back the curtain in my own life. The truth is, if I truly desire to know Jesus on a deeper level, it's no skip in the park. The Christian life is full of uphill battles-- there's nothing sing-song about it. I can't remember a single time in the Bible, where Jesus was jumping for joy, singing corny, feel-good songs. His joy looked very different than our concept of joy.
The Lord was tempted just as we. I'm sure there were many days He didn't want to face. Almost every day of His ministry, He was despised, rejected, interrogated, mocked, betrayed, scoffed at, and lied to. The amount of unjust-ness He received in his life could not even touch our worst day. Yet, He kept on... trying to be Jesus to the world? No, He struggled.
Even after 2,000 years, things have not changed much. Men are still shaking their heads at Jesus’ message and ridiculing those who would serve Him. Truth is, not only do we have to contend with our own fallen nature, as well as Satan and his fleet of fallen angels, we often forget that our inheritance as followers of Christ is persecution and struggle, too. But, blessed are we when we share in the sufferings of our Savior! The Bible says we should expect it:
"Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world." (1 Peter 4:12-13)
What joy awaits us in Christ! Our joy isn't in our rosy, Technicolor worlds that we try to paint, but in our partnership of sharing in the sufferings of Christ. Sometimes joy is merely accepting the road less traveled -- the way of the cross.
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2, NIV)
The prophet Habbakuk wrestled, continuously asking God for justice in a topsy-turvy world. His name meant, "to embrace." But by the end of his book, he chose to embrace God, despite what might happen to the nation of Israel. His embracing led to joy as well.
"Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior." (Habbakuk 3:17-18 )
You might have a similar story. I did that day.
Though I woke up on the wrong side of the bed
and forgot my badge,
Though I wanted to minister to people
and got no telethon calls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
By the way, I don't consider suffering for Christ to mean forgetting my badge and getting no telethon calls (my trials were already there, before my day began). But nonetheless, I got through my day, in awe that the Lord would allow me the privilege to embrace His life in me.
You can too. Wherever you are, right now, I encourage you to praise Him. No matter how bad or not so bad your circumstances are -- thank Him for the road He has you on. Don't waste time wishing for an Over the Rainbow world that does not exist for you. Now watch the clouds give way. Has your joy been restored yet?
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