The Redemption Of Disney
In 1976, my family took a cross-country trip to California. We saw many sights on our trip. The Grand Canyon. The Petrified Forest. The Redwood Forest. San Francisco and Las Vegas. Others, I suppose, that did not interest a nearly eight year old boy. However, there was one that was the best of all.
I loved this part of the trip. We rode the Matterhorn. I saw all of the Disney characters and, of course, I got my Mickey Mouse ears.
We left the Happiest Place On Earth and as a kid, I was truly happy.
Flash forward eight years. Following my sophomore year of high school, we went to Walt Disney World. I was fifteen and the future was fast approaching. We took a trip to Florida, spending some time at the beach. One day, though, was dedicated to head to Orlando. The other Magic Kingdom was our destination. With the memories of Disneyland just beneath the surface of my mind, I anticipated this part of the trip most of all.
I was let down.
I honestly have no memory of our trip to Walt Disney World at all. All I recall is that I was miserable and from that point forward, Disney was a bad word in my vocabulary.
About ten years later, I became a father of a little girl who loved all things Disney. One day when her babysitter was sick, I stayed home with her. We watched Winnie the Pooh continuously all day. I can still sing some of the songs from that movie.
Due to the way life happens, we never made it to Walt Disney World when our children were younger. Quite often we would discuss going, but things just never worked out for us to be able to go.
Until last week.
We finally went to Walt Disney World last week. We had been planning the trip for about a year. Each week my daughter grew more excited. To be honest, each week, my attitude grew worse.
Deep down, due to the poor memories I had of my previous trip, I had no desire to go back to Walt Disney World. I dreaded this trip like none that I had ever taken. I was happy that my children would get to experience it, but inside it felt like a business trip.
During the first couple of days, I was still wound kind of tight. We arrived on Sunday and visited Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom and EPCOT by the end of Monday. Finally, on Tuesday, I relaxed.
And had fun.
And enjoyed the remainder of the trip.
We began talking about how we would come back one day when we had grandkids. Who knows, we might even return with our adult children before they have children. We might even try for a trip to California and hit up Disneyland one day. We had that much fun.
I sat back and thought about this. What happened?
I kind of see it like how our walk in faith goes sometimes.
I loved church and the Lord as a kid. I didn’t particularly like having to dress up to go to Sunday school. It was the 70’s after all and we had some bad polyester back then.
I would sit in the floor and read my illustrated Bible story book. I loved going to Sunday school and VBS. It was a ton of fun and full of great memories, just like Disneyland.
Later on, things changed. I entered the youth group. I didn’t really fit in with the youth group. I went to all of the youth events for a while. I sung in the youth choir. I went on the youth trips.
I was miserable.
For the next several years I went to church just to try to earn favor with God. I heard about grace, but it never clicked with me what that meant. Until.
One day, I just had enough. I had been struggling with the entire concept of faith. I believed in God, but I thought He was so far away that there was no way I could reach Him.
Instead, I found out that He was right there on the other side of the door. First, He made me see myself for what I was. Like Paul, He removed the scales from my eyes.
I realized that He was the solution for all the misery I had gone through. He had done the work for me to earn God’s favor that I was trying to accomplish on my own.
I had been blind and suddenly I could see. I had been lost and now I was found.
I put my faith in Christ and was redeemed.
Our trip to Disney redeemed my entire concept of the Disney experience. It’s one that I look forward to taking part of again.
My life was redeemed by the Lord. He changed my entire concept of what it was to be a Christian. He changed my entire belief about church and gave me a vision of what it means to be the Church.
Redemption is an awesome thing.
Do you see the themes of redemption in different areas of your life?