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Monday, October 14, 2013

Belief and Trouble

Belief is a common theme in fantasy and fairy tales.  This has been especially true in the more recent episodes of Once Upon a Time (and yes, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland).

It would seem that the island of Neverland is run by belief.  When the crew had captured a mermaid in the season premiere, there was a storm which was fueled by their own arguing as the realm of Neverland responded to them.  Then a week ago, it would seem that all of Mr. Gold's experience for that episode was being sharpened and run through his belief (or lack thereof) in his own nature.  In the Wonderland premiere, or particularly in the flashbacks of that episode, we learn that many of Alice's decisions as she grew up were based on convincing her dad of something she believed and he did not.

The central line of Wonderland's premiere episode was "When you love someone you don't need proof to believe them."  (Not sure if this is fully accurate quote, but it is close).

We all face trouble, don't we?  In American religion we love to think that God doesn't want us to have any hardship or trouble.  That his plan is all comfort and "happiness."  Let us separate the words of happiness and joy.  Happiness in America is based on your situation.  It is based on what is going on around you and receiving the weather or the items or the people you want around you.  The Biblical Principal of joy is based on Christ and the fact that we have Him, not the situation we find ourselves in.  We are actually told by James to have joy even in great difficulty.  Why does He teach this?   

When we know that we have God watching over us, we don't need to worry about our situation.  As our love for Him grows, we don't need the miracles to convince us that He is still there.  His presence becomes the guide in our difficulties and our belief in Him is more powerful than our desires for comfort or worldly items.  He does often still do miracles.  They might be small, medium, or sometimes He even does a huge one, but He still asks that we believe.

While watching Once Upon a Time, you may notice that they don't have easy lives.  I mean, when your son/grandson gets kidnapped by bunch of kids with swords or your town is almost destroyed by people set out on revenge or when you find out you have been living a lie because of a curse.  Does this sound like an easy life?  

After all this, Snow White and Prince Charming still believe that all will turn out alright, even while still looking for Henry.  When Emma is angry and argues with them about this, they simply say, "We HAVE to believe."  After all they had been through, they had to believe in themselves and each other.  There was no other choice.

Now imagine all that the prophets and leaders of God went though in the Old Testament.  Read Hebrews 11, where you find a list about the trials faced.  They faced war, imprisonment, disease, even death.  But Hebrews 11 is not about what they faced, although that is in there.  It is about their faith. 

After all we, the combined followers of Christ throughout time and space, have been through, we have no other choice than to believe...even to believe with joy.  You see, God uses these difficulties.  He uses them to build character and hope in us. 

"Not only so but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope."  Romans 5:3-4  

Will you believe?  In the middle of fear and frustration and pain.  In the middle of the good things and the horror of life.  If you believe, you will go on a wonderful adventure, but it will be dangerous.  God will take you through difficulty and shape you into a person of character and hope, but only if you BELIEVE.

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength."  Philippians 4:11-13

Scriptures to Read: Hebrews 11, James 1, Philippians 4:2-20

   

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