The first time my sisters and I watched The Wizard of Oz, we were amazed. The colors, music, and characters kept us glued to the television. We were fascinated by Dorothy’s journey and rooted for her safe return home.
Emerald City, the answer to all of her problems, was beautiful, sparkling, and energetic. My sisters and I cheered! We just knew that Dorothy’s troubles were over. Then, the unthinkable happened. We discovered Oz was an illusion.
I thought about this movie after I had a conversation with a close friend. She confessed to loving reality TV – especially the “housewives” shows. She went as far as organizing her schedule around her favorite programs. She admitted to having a heated argument with her husband because he believed there was nothing “real” about the shows. He accused her of being addicted to drama.
Their biggest argument? The materialistic nature of the shows.
My friend did acknowledge that she desired the same designer clothes, bags, and shoes that she saw on TV. She kept asking for a nicer home, even though she already lived in an upscale area. She went on to say she wished her husband would take her on more than two exotic trips each year. The shows made her unhappy with her life (Ecclesiastes 5:10-17).
What could I say? I knew I couldn’t judge her or be critical of her. Why not? Because as I listened to her yearn for what someone else had, of coveting the possessions of others, I wondered how many of us, who deal with sickness, are also guilty of envy? How easy is it to let envy overrule our hearts when we struggle with chronic pain and illness on a daily basis?
Maybe we don’t dream about material things. But, what do we think about someone who walks without a limp? Who is pain free? Who has no dietary restrictions? Who never has to take a handful of pills each day?
If we’re not careful, we become angry, depressed, and bitter because of our limitations. What if our wish to have what others have, to desire a “better” life, will eventually lead us to emptiness?
Have we considered the truth of what we’re seeing when we catch a glimpse of the lives of other people? Are we willing to risk the corruption of our hearts by desiring what seems to be a better existence?
It can become easy to question God’s purpose for our pain and suffering.
One of my favorite scriptures is II Corinthians 12:9-10. Paul talks about his suffering and how he pleaded with God for healing. But God reminded Paul of His sustaining power, even in the midst of Paul’s infirmity.
Are we willing to follow Paul’s example and allow God to magnify His power and glory in our lives? Or, will we continue to chase after the lure of things, even the materialistic excesses, we see on TV?
If we seek anything other than what God has for us, we risk becoming weak, frustrated, and ineffective.
God wants us to be filled with His power, love and Spirit. He wants to use us, and our physical condition does not matter (Psalm 73:26; II Corinthians 4:7-16). God does all of the work through us. Living an authentic life is more beautiful and appealing than desiring to impress others.
Don’t follow the path that leads to disillusionment. Live the life that God has ordained for you and watch Him use you to impact the people in your life.
Prayer: Father, keep us from looking at worthless things (Psalm 119:37). Let us find our purpose in You. Give us the courage to live authentic lives so that Your love, power, and glory will shine through us. Amen.