Monday, February 17, 2014

When Life Isn't a Spoonful of Sugar

By Julie Gernand
Give all your worries to Him because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
Have you ever been truly, deeply moved by a book you read or a movie that you saw? For my birthday this year, my husband and I went to go see the film Saving Mr. Banks. Man, was it powerful. (Spoiler alert! If you haven’t seen it, proceed with caution!)

The plot revolves around author P.L. Travers, who wrote the book Mary Poppins about events from her own life. Movie tycoon Walt Disney fought her for over 20 years to buy the rights to produce it as a film, which was eventually released in 1964.

You see, P.L.Travers’ life wan’t full of peppy songs and spoonfuls of sugar. Her alcoholic father brought strife to her whole family through his employment struggles, and P.L. based the character of nanny Mary Poppins around a strict aunt that came to live with her family. 

Walt Disney also struggled growing up with an overbearing and harsh father. He fought hard to produce the Mary Poppins film because he cherished the fact that the father character of Mr. Banks changes his ways at the end of P.L’s story, living happily ever after with his wife and children - something that neither P.L. nor Walt had experienced in real life.

It seems to be the Disney way to finish a story with “and they lived happily ever after.” In the case of Mary Poppins, this ending was a way for Disney and Travers to rewrite their pasts. To make everything alright. All neat and tidy.

Unfortunately, we cannot re-do the past or wish things into being. We cannot write a new story that will change an old one. 

But we do have one true Being to which we can bring our strife: Jesus Christ.

It is sad to know that P.L. Travers was not a Christ-follower. For a period of time in her life, she explored Middle Eastern religions, searching for a place of peace.* P.L. never experienced the deep joy that giving one’s cares over to the Lord of Lords truly brings.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28-30)

There is often nothing that can change the circumstances presented to us. However, how many of us walk through life shouldering heavy burdens of the flesh? We can change how we will live in light of Christ’s promises. We cannot, through sheer will-power, slap happy-endings on our earthly struggles, but we can bring them to the feet of Jesus. He not only understands every problem that we face, but He knows how we’re feeling even more deeply than we know ourselves. What amazing love!

Place your heavy burden into Christ’s hands today. He may not choose to change it, but he will bear the weight. As I pray through my struggles, it often helps me to visualize Christ in front of me with outstretched palms, lovingly waiting for me to place my burdens on to Him. He is willing, loving, and entirely more able to share our pain than we will ever realize. 

God will write you into His story as soon as you decide to stop authoring your own. The Great Writer of History longs to include you in His narrative! 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Dear Jesus, Forgive us when we forget that you are all we need. Forgive us when we forget to talk with you. Forgive us when we feel we can shoulder all our problems alone. Be with us, Lord Jesus, and help us through our time on this broken planet as we look forward to the best happy ending of all -eternal life with You!

Amen.

*http://www.biography.com/people/pl-travers-21358293?page=2
[Image courtesy of http://www.libertytyler.com/ComeSeeAShow/MaryPoppins1964.aspx]

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