We did it. Two introverts who don’t like crowds and tight spaces braved the land of Magic for love of their children (and by way of a generous friend). We did Disney.
I am so glad that we did it. There were sweet moments of laughter and awe and excitement. There were also near melt-downs laced with impatience and brought on by low blood sugar. I know that, over time, my children’s memories will morph to expand the joy and wonder and minimize the crowds and crankiness. It was worth it.
That being said, I want to paint an honest picture of our 5 hour experience at “Mickey’s House,” as our youngest calls it. A mass of humanity, all rushing to wait in long lines. Grumpy side comments from strangers as they bump into you on the crowded sidewalks or in the fast pass line, frenetic with nervous energy. I don’t like places likes these, because I don’t like what they stir up in me: fear, anxiety, a feeling of being threatened by scarcity. There are not enough hours to see all the rides. We will miss out. There is not enough to go around. You have to fight to reserve your space. Hurry, hurry, or you will miss it.
Disneyland is a wonderful place, don’t get me wrong. It’s the human heart and situation that is broken. We bring brokenness and fear everywhere we go, even to the most magical places on earth.
Jesus knew the human heart, the human condition, better than any other human ever has or will. He knew twelve men intimately, better than I know the three children with whom I spend the majority of my time. He could see straight through them and read their heart and their fears. He could tell from their eyes, much like I can with my children, when their hearts were troubled.
He could see their eyes glazing over, their minds spinning, their hearts being stirred up with fear and anxiety when he was sharing about his impending plans towards the end of his life. It didn’t make sense to them, He could see that. So many details were being left unexplained. Their eyes grew large and threatened, as my children’s eyes became when they saw two hour lines for a ride they longed to try.
“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:1-2.
The Greek word translated troubled is tarasso, meaning agitated, shaken up or disturbed. The word gives the picture of something being set into motion that was intended to be still.
The human heart was created and intended to remain in the atmosphere of security, confidence and peace established by the presence of God. In one catastrophic choice, which has been continuously followed by daily catastrophic choices, human hearts chose the turbulent waters of life apart from the presence of God. Christ came to earth to restore us to that place of security and surety that can only be found in the presence of the Father.
The Greek word translated “go” in the above passage is poreumoai. This word has a breadth of meaning that cannot be captured by the simple English word “go.” The Greek word paints the picture of Jesus fording the impassable passageway back to the Father, traveling, journeying through death, so as to clear a path back to the expansive heart of the Father.
In essence, Jesus tells them and still tells us, “I know your hearts are troubled, stirred up by the seeming scarcity of love, peace, security and space on this globe. I came for the express purpose to open up a way back to the expansive, unlimited heart of the Father that you were created for and from. There is plenty. Plenty of love, security, purpose, affection, space. My dad’s heart is expansive beyond your wildest imaginings and your paltry experiences on the earth.”
In a world of crowds and long lines and scarcity, even in the Magic Kingdom, Jesus speaks stillness into the roiling waters of the human heart. You were made for more than this, even the best attempts to create a paradise here pale in comparison to the home and heart of my Father.
If it were not so, He would not have told us. If it were not so, He wouldn’t have died to restore our place in the presence of the Father. And we don’t have to wait in line or pay a ridiculous cover charge. Admission is paid, the pathway is well-prepared. We can even enjoy the presence of the Father here and now. Now that’s a Magical Kingdom.