Disneyland. What an amazing place. The long road trip down there was richly rewarded with endless sensory pleasure, smiles, laughs, conversations with friends, cotton candy, thrills, and nostalgia. The mile-long line for Space Mountain hurt our feet, yet it made our eyes go wide with wonder and our faces look like school children again. Amazing memories of childhood abounded as we went on rides that lacked the intensity of most theme parks, but nevertheless left an impression because of the way they hit our hearts.
The book of Genesis tells the story of God creating the Heavens and the Earth and saying that they were good. It says that He blessed earth and man and that His Spirit hovered over the Earth. God had made it, and He made it perfect, like Himself. But something bad happened. Adam and Eve decided to rebel against the perfect God that created them, and the sin that entered the world didn’t affect just them, but also the entire world. This domino effect caused there to be fallen animals, fallen lakes, fallen colors, fallen tastes, fallen music; and for thousands of years nothing would be the same.
Despite the fall, God’s goodness remains on the earth and goodness itself only remains because God is still here. Disneyland, though far from perfect, is evidence of this to me. I caught glimpses of what God had created man to be and experience.
Firstly, the sensory experience was exhilarating: the wonder of the stars in Space Mountain; the vast cavern that hosted Indiana Jones; the fireworks shot over our heads in a beautiful panorama of lights, colors and sounds; the World of Color show that took a pond the size of a football field and turned it into a symphony of fountains, lights, and Disney movies projected onto the water itself. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen (see photo below). Yet all these things are simply frail shadows of what God made us to see and experience with the eyes and ears He gave us. When those of us who have trusted Christ as our savior are joined with Him where He dwells in Heaven, we’ll have new eyes to see and new ears to hear the real wonders which He made for us: the way things were meant to be before our sin come on stage and we screwed everything up.
Another thing I noticed at Disneyland, which should be obvious, was how the place was saturated with happy kids, spoiled by parents who were willing to make the sacrifice to see them happy. I remember the little boy sitting on his dad’s shoulders in front of me while watching the color show, and it reminds me of God’s goodness as a Father. It’s a cool picture of what my relationship with God will be like when I enter into Heaven, bursting with anticipation to see Him face to face, and to sit on Dad’s shoulders watching the color show He prepared for me. While it may be harder for some to really understand, the truth is that God is a good Father and He loves to give good gifts to His children (Luke 11:13, Matthew 7:11). Here the physical gifts are imperfect and fallen, “For now we see in a mirror dimly,” but there we will see what He really meant for us to see and experience, as we see our Father “face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12a).
Mickey is like a rock star at Disneyland. He’s like the six-year-old’s version of Lady Gaga or Keith Urban. I’m pretty sure I even got a little starstruck when I saw him there – let’s be honest. But when it comes down to it, it’s a dude (woman?) walking around mute in a hot mouse suit. God made me with the ability to love and admire people, and He is the only One who can truly satisfy my inclination to worship. Luckily though “now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12b). I will see Jesus and will see the Father in all His glory, as He really is, and He’ll be the rock star of the show that will be worthy of my starstruck-ness.
I leave you with words from the next-to-last chapter in the Bible. Meditate on the hope that you have and the beauty you have to look forward to if You know God personally as your Father. And if you don’t know Him yet, seek Him out. He’s so, so good:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Author: Jeff Oleson