• seeingjesusclearly

Life Without Disneyland

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

As a global community, we stand in a place of shock, confusion, fear and disbelief. Although the word, 'unprecedented' has been overused, it does sum up what we currently face. This global crisis has taken all of us to a place that we have never known or seen before. Amidst the scrambling and scurrying to cope and stop the virus from spreading, many people cannot grasp the severity of the situation. Some of the indicators that a global crisis was unfolding were the cancellations. Sporting events, live theatre, school routines, church worship services and other large gatherings suddenly stopped.

Some people reacted with optimistic naiveté. 'With the family home, we can take a trip to Disneyland!' Then Disneyland closed. Disney theme parks and resorts across the globe shut down.

In a crisis like this, a go-to place for safety, comfort and reassurance is desperately needed. But can a place like that exist here on earth? Disneyland has been the self-proclaimed "Happiest Place on Earth" as long as I can remember. Fondness and nostalgic feelings swirl within the hearts of millions of people when thoughts of the 'Magic Kingdom' arise.

Is this fondness and sense of comfort nothing more than a facade? I've been going to Disneyland (and other Disney theme parks) every year, sometimes multiple times per year, since I was 18 months old. My wife and I were annual passholders most of the years that we lived in Southern California. My first visit was in December, 1975. The best part of a Disney park visit is found in the anticipation. There is a hope and excitement, looking forward to all of the fun and magic that you will be a part of.

That illusion quickly dies from the moment you pull into the line for the parking structure. Prices are astronomical for the average person. Wait times are grueling. Rides break down. The food options are overpriced considering the low quality, flavor, and nutritional value (or lack thereof). Cheaply made Disney merchandise (a must-have if you want your visit to be complete) can lure you into debt. People are grumpy and rude. Kids are cranky. It is usually overcrowded. If you've ever been to one of the Disney theme parks, you will understand this reality.

So why do we place our hope in an illusion, especially if the best part truly is found in the anticipation? It is because we are wired and designed to have hope. We know deep down, even in the midst of our darkest hour, there must be something better out there.

The Psalmist writes, "I lift my eyes to the mountains - where does my help come from?" (Psalm 121:1 NIV). Mountains represent strength and stability. The Psalmist (thought to be King David) reflects on difficult times and the true source of help, comfort and strength. He goes on to write, "My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth" (Psalm 121:2).

Jesus made a promise to His followers, "Do not let your hearts be troubled...My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me" (John 14:1-3).

Jesus loves you so much that He is preparing a place for you right now. This is a place with no more tears, no more sorrow and no more death (Revelation 21:4). So in the midst of hardship, pain, suffering and everything this world has to offer in terms of illusions of false hope - true hope exists.

Jesus acknowledged the difficulties of this life. He said, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). The author of Hebrews encourages us to fix our eyes on Christ alone, the author and "perfecter of faith" (Hebrews 12:2). Let us lift our eyes above the temporal things of this world. Let us lift our eyes above fear and uncertainty. Let us lift our eyes above disease and death. Let us lift our eyes above facades of false hope. Let us lift our eyes above worldly symbols of strength. Let us look to God and place our hope in Him.

Jesus loves you more than you could ever possibly imagine. Place your faith and trust in Him. He has overcome this world. If you are in need of encouragement, prayer or just someone to talk with, please contact the Vision 2020 team here.

James Runcorn

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