The Law and Grace. Day sixty-five...
In the classic film, “The Wizard of Oz,” the Munchkins sing:
Ding Dong! The Witch is dead. Which old Witch? The
Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead.
Wake up‐sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed.
Wake up, the Wicked Witch is dead. She's gone where the goblins go,
Below‐below‐below. Yo‐ho, let's open up and sing and ring the bells out.
Ding Dong' the merry‐oh, sing it high, sing it low.
Let them know
The Wicked Witch is dead!
And everyone breathes a sigh of relief … relief, that is, until the Wicked Witch of the West shows up for her dead sister's ruby slippers.
Their freedom was not really freedom, after all.
In this fantasy, Dorothy is in the presence of her family during the entire time she believes that she is not. But at the end of her perilous journey, while chanting, “There's no place like home,” she finally she wakes up to the reality that she was hit on the head, and that her family has never left her side.
In our lives as Christians, when it first soaks in that Christ has delivered us from the law, I think we are tempted to sing:
Ding Dong! The Law is dead. Which old Law? The Wicked
Ding Dong! The Wicked Law is dead.
And we are tempted to breathe a sigh of relief, saying, “All things are lawful!” as did the church at Corinth (see 1 Corinthians 6:12 and 1 Corinthians 10:23). But our so‐called freedom doesn't feel so free for very long at all.
Maybe God's grace sort of fell on the Law, like the Dorothy's house sort of fell on the Wicked Witch of the East. But the same old stuff that gave us trouble when we were desperately and unsuccessfully trying to please God by our performance didn't just go away because we declared all things to be lawful.
No! That same old stuff just went underground briefly, and its evil twin eventually showed up on the scene.
Our lives are not a fantasy like Dorothy's. We can't just force ourselves to wake up from the pitfalls and the perils we are going through, as if they are only a bad dream. In fact, some of what we go through has the potential to kill us.
But we do share one thing with Dorothy.
All the while the very fictional Dorothy was going through her trauma, she was actually in the presence of her family—she just didn't realize it. And all the while the very real you and I are going through our personal trauma, we are in fact in the presence of the Lord—we just don't realize it.
A bad knock on the head had removed Dorothy from an awareness of the presence of her family. And some sort of a knock on the head has removed us from an awareness of the presence of the Lord.
But the Lord does not lose His awareness of us.
He is right where He has always been. I just have to wake up to that reality as the apostle Paul describes in his letter to the Galatians:
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 KJV)
Dorothy did suffer a blow to the head in the film, but the trauma she experienced while unconscious was based on the false perceptions in her dream. Her family never left her side.
Yes, we can also suffer a sort of blow to the head—an attack against a sound mind—causing us to believe that keeping God's commandments is an outdated and old‐fashioned lifestyle, appropriate only for those living under the old covenant. But this sort of thinking makes us unconscious of the Lord's presence. And we go through a lot of very real trauma as a result.
As my wife says, “When we lose sight of the Lord's presence, the day turns to crap!”
But maybe we can draw another parallel from the movies.
In the pretend world of film, when the heroine is about to lose consciousness, the hero will say something like, “Now you stay with me. I'm right here. Stay with me.”
When we have been attacked by the desire to slip away into a lifestyle of justifying our human nature, maybe we need to fight to stay conscious of the Lord's presence. Because He is saying to us, “Now you stay with Me. I'm right here. Stay with Me.”
For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5b–6 NKJV)
Have a good day,