“Did I not tell you,” replied Jesus, “that if you believed, you would see the wonder of what God can do?” Then they took the stone away and Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I know that you always hear me.” John 11:40-42
Red . . .
It was the color of my Nanny’s hair in the sunlight,
The shade of my favorite teachers’ lips,
The hue of the roses in Granny’s backyard garden,
The faded cloth that stretched across my grandpa’s favorite hat.
It was also the blush on my cheeks when a brown-eyed boy I now call husband first said my name. And the slippers of a farm girl from Kansas who just so happened to find herself violently plucked from the ordinary. Within only a few frames of film, she’d gone from the comfort of black and white to spinning wildly into grey skies filled with mean ladies on clackety bicycles.
Dorothy— I always felt like she and I were kindred spirits. I’ve faced my demons and I’ve run from them too. I’ve found my house spinning more times than I’d like to count. When you grow up in a broken, abusive home, you never really feel like you have roots to begin with. You are free-falling helplessly in a popsicle stick house above a cold, hard ground. You are a “point-and-a-whisper” in a world with ordinary people…and all you want is to be ordinary too—even if just for a moment.
One thing is certain; in a place where everything is grey, muted and ugly…finally falling into your living color can be incredibly scary.
When the screen door swings open to the furthest thing from your understanding or something so very beautiful you don’t know what to do with it—it’s terrifying. You meet tiny people who sing your praises. Colorful blossoms frame a sterling, crystal blue stream. God tells you to kick off your KEDS® and put on these brilliant ruby slippers that have the power to take you to all these wonderful, destined places of good things on a path of pure and mysterious yellow.
As if you weren’t petrified enough, they tell you that you’ve killed this witch. She was really big and important…and her sister is madder than an old wet hen that your house had the audacity to land on her of all people. Suddenly, you are face to face with this horrible, snarling green thing and she pops up at the most inopportune moment in a puff of smoke.
Mystery writers talk a lot about smoke in mirrors. The smoke is the fine, yet bold details that hide/obscure the truth. Here, Dorothy always had the power to defeat the scary thing—she always had the ability to go home. But the witch was counting on the smoke scaring her out of a world of brilliant hues and new, wonderful things. She didn’t want Dorothy’s shoes. She wanted the girl inside them, and she wanted her to be so petrified she’d stop doing the good she was sent to do.
Isn’t this a lot like the struggles we face in our “new thing?” When we are plucked from the black and white and life spins our ordinary farmhouse through a sky of menacing rain clouds…we are horrified. We hold tight to our little dog and we hope as bicycles pass that we don’t have to let go of everything we have known to be good.
But our house lands. The door opens, and everything is different. And it’s scarier than anything you can imagine. Yet, in the sudden silence we hear Jesus: “Did I not tell you…you would see the wonder of what God can do?”
This time, this moment when you think you can’t take one more step, this is when something spectacular is about to happen. No one can see it but the One in charge of your life. You’ve been anointed to do something amazing. Your yellow brick road is going to lead to places you’ve never dreamed, as well as to the comfort of home, all at once. And when your living color comes, don’t be afraid. Oh, no. If the smoke comes, don’t run and hide because you can be sure you are well on your way to something spectacular and far beyond your imagination. There are good plans and then there are GOD plans—this, my friend, is going to be both.
The devil wants to trick us out of a life of extraordinary existence. He wants to do anything he can to stop us from following the path God set before us. From overcoming adversity to meeting strange, yet wonderful, friends to share your journey—the devil wants to take that from you. Don’t let him. Don’t miss God’s wonder. It’s the place where we will find heart, courage, wisdom, and home—all at once.
*****Have you ever come to a new and scary time in your life? What made the new normal spectacular?*****
-Excerpt from Radically Red: Dare to Live the Words of Christ, forthcoming Warner Press 2014