Have you ever been walking down the yellow brick road of life and you aren’t even halfway through your journey and those darn flying monkeys come at you? They pull at your hair and clothes hurling all those daggers of doubts and whispering in your ear your deepest fears. All you want to do is run away to that field of beautiful red poppies, lay down and go to sleep hoping it will all go away. Then you hear that calm, quiet voice say “Stop, sit down, be still. I will take care of the monkeys for you because you are my child and I love you.” That is when the trip down the yellow brick road begins.
My last faith walk down that yellow brick paved path was different from my other journeys. I knew from past expeditions that the trip would be full of life changing lessons. How long the walk would take would somewhat be up to me and how long it took for me to listen and follow my companion, Jesus. This time as I approached the road, I remembered those darn pesky flying monkeys. But I thought to myself, “I am prepared this time because I remember the life lessons I learned from God the other times. I have the promises of God ready, the Bible as my shield and the Holy Spirit as my monkey repellant.” I took that first step onto the yellow bricks and began my journey… a year and a half ago. (I guess I had more to learn than I thought.)
It started out not to be so bad. I recalled some of the first aid lessons Christ had taught me the other times I had been down this road. I was praying and repeating the scriptures that had helped me before. Then I looked ahead and sure enough, I recognized the dark approaching cloud as the monkeys started moving in. “OK,” I thought, “I’ve got this. They won’t take me down this time!” But as they drew closer I noticed these monkeys had mutated since the last time. They were bigger, louder, and more piercing. They were hitting deeper inside at areas I hadn’t dealt with before. So I did what I had done all the other times, I started to run. Forgetting that that hadn’t worked before but human nature kicked in. Run away from the hurt and the change and maybe you will outrun them.
After a while, I got tired and I had to rest. I sat down in the orchard under the trees and rested. I prayed the desperate prayers of the tired and confused all the while watching the menacing monkeys stare at me from the road. Sometime later (months) my breathing became regular and my prayers more focused and I heard God nudging me to get back onto the road. “Really Lord, back on the road? The monkeys get me when I am on the road. Aren’t there any shortcuts through some peaceful meadows or rolling fields with some friendly frolicking sheep? Or what about that pretty field of red poppies?” Nope, he wanted me on the yellow brick road. And get this he wanted me to sit down on the road! With my eyes focused on the monkeys glaring at me ready to throw arrows of doubts and accusations, I cried out, “I thought you would take away the monkeys before you had me start out on my journey again?”
After a while (more months) I did as I was told. I crept out and sat down in the middle of the road watching the monkeys circling around me like vultures. For months I sat in the middle of that road with my hands over my ears repeating “I do believe, I do believe, I do, I do, I do believe.” Some of the words that came into my head and heart were obedience, relinquishment, submission, endurance, sacrifice, atonement, co-crucifixion, joyful expectation. I allowed God to fill my heart and mind helping me process the meaning of these words in my life. I may have been uncertain of my future but I was confident of the one who held my future in his hands.
During the months that followed, I noticed that my prayers were changing to be more in line with what God wanted for me and my fears began to lessen. I would get up and walk around practicing some of the lessons God had been teaching me. Always coming back to the safe spot in the road thanking him for getting me through another day.
As I became stronger and the days passed I saw that there were fewer monkeys hovering around me. Finally, I heard God say, “It is time to move on.” So I hesitantly got up focusing on the lone monkey left sneering at me across the yellow road. I sat back down. Now I would have to actually live out my faith. What happens if I fail, or make the wrong decision, what if God asks me to do something I am not comfortable with, what if, what if? That was the biggest monkey of them all. As long as I kept my eyes on that monkey and not on the one who held me in his hands, I succumbed to the lies and fears the monkey was shouting at me. Taking a deep breath, I covered my ears, I turned my focus upward, and took a small step forward, and then another and before I knew it I was strolling the rest of the way down that bright yellow colored road.
Now as I think back on my recent journey I realized that I was all four of the characters from the Wizard of Oz walking on that yellow brick road. I was the scarecrow needing a renewing of the mind. I was the tin man needing a deeper walk with the Lord, one that was not only in my mind but deeply embedded in my heart. I was the lion needing the courage and the faith to live out what Christ has done for me on the cross. And I was Dorothy, who just wanted to go home. I now realize more deeply that my security and “home” is in the arms of my Savior doing whatever he has for me to do.
Will this be the last time I take a trip down the yellow brick road? I hope not! Each time I go the scenery is different and the colors become more vibrant. And admittedly it sure would be easier and faster if it wasn’t for those irritating flying monkeys! But I learned to thank God for the flying monkeys too because without them I wouldn’t have come to have faith in the monkey repellant!