At the end of the movie The Wizard of Oz, the Wizard gives a diploma to the Scarecrow, a badge of courage to the Cowardly Lion, and a heart to the Tin Man. As they celebrated the fulfillment of their desires, the Scarecrow says to the Wizard, ”Hey, what about Dorothy?” Dorothy’s response was to say…”Oh, I don’t think there is in anything in that black bag for me.”
That scene pierces my heart because I spent the better part of my life believing the same thing. Years and years of being told that I wasn’t wanted, wasn’t invited, and that I would never amount to anything, left me under a pile of shame believing that there is nothing in that bag for me either.
Remember, we really do have a spiritual enemy that is trying to destroy us. His main strategy is to try and convince us that we are worthless, not enough, and unloved. It all starts when we are young. We hear it from our parents, our siblings, teachers, coaches, classmates, etc. When we agree with the shameful messages that the enemy is spewing, the lies settle in like sediment and unless we go back into our stories and break those agreements,
Back in 2002 when I first read the book Wild at Heart, I began to have hope that I could be healed, and that I was really loved by my Heavenly Father. However, it didn’t take long before I found myself bottomed out and believing the old lies again.
I remember a conversation with a good friend during that time; he asked me if I thought we could ever really know that God truly loves us in a deep and sustainable way? Oh how I wanted to say yes and never look back ,however, after many years of transformational work, there are still times that I find myself doubting, reeling, questioning, striving, clinging, etc.
Along the path of healing and restoration over the years I have had a community of men who have not only encouraged me to believe it, but in many ways have believed it for me until I was truly able to believe it for myself.
Photo by Ricardo Rocha on Unsplash
It is so important to understand that healing isn’t a “one-and-done” exercise. It doesn’t happen overnight, it is a process…a battle to be fought every day of our lives. And if we are fortunate, we will have others that are on the journey with us that can act as a mirror to reflect the truth back to us over and over.
Over the years I have worked with many men who have come to me in crisis. I have spent countless hours listening to their stories and trying to help them believe that they are loved. That they have a Father who is crazy about them, and wants nothing more than for them to receive healing and walk in freedom. There are some who I have journeyed with for several years who while making progress, still relapse back into believing that “There is nothing in that black bag for them”.
One of the thought processes that we battle as Christians today is that there is only one way to transform. Primarily we have embraced the lie that it only comes through the transferal of information. The current Christian culture will tell you to attend church regularly, join a Bible study, read books, listen to podcasts, etc. Believe me, I did all of those things consistently…usually doubling my efforts every time I would slip back into unbelief.
Photo by Malte Baumann on Unsplash
Here is something to consider; what if some of our wounds are so painful and deeply embedded that information about the truth of God’s unconditional love cannot be received? The Enemy does not just roll over and give up the first time one of us reads the Bible, or listens to a great sermon. He has his talons dug so deep into our hearts and stories that we often cannot see, or receive, the truth.
Friends, we need to be desperate and we need to persevere in order to receive and believe the truth. Believe me when I say that no matter how much you are struggling, or how often you hit the wall in your journey to embrace Abba’s love for you, His love never decreases. For as tenacious as Satan’s hatred for you is, Abba’s is more.
I want to close with an incredible story that most of us are probably familiar with. Consider the criminal on the cross next to Jesus. How did he receive the love of the Trinity? What did he do to get it? He is the last person that you would put into this story of receiving the love of Jesus. One did not end up nailed to a cross for unpaid parking tickets. I mean come on, just minutes before their brief encounter he was hurling insults at Jesus. He was a nobody that, that had no hope. He had not lifted one finger, listened to one sermon, attended one service…I am guessing he didn’t even own a NIV Study Bible for crying out loud.
So what happened? How did he change?
There is only one explanation…out of his desperation he was healed, and invited into the kingdom by LOVE. And you are too.