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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: February 22, 2024

As a child, I never understood the ending of The Wizard of Oz. Why is everyone cool with the Wizard at the film’s conclusion? He just made Dorothy and her friends go on a perilous journey where they all could have died to retrieve the Wicked Witch’s broomstick, for seemingly no reason. Then he refuses to keep his promise. When Dorothy is crying out for help, he just keeps putting on his show of phony smoke and thunder. And then, when it’s revealed that he’s just a man generating the storm of terror, after about five seconds Dorothy ends up showing him compassion. Why? Well, after watching the movie about 50 thousand times, I eventually figured it out. The story isn’t really about the Wizard of Oz rescuing Dorothy. It’s about Dorothy rescuing the Wizard, rescuing him from the lies and the charade of the storm he made.

And while I don’t think the author of the book or the director of the film meant to infuse a bit of a Christian twist into the Wizard of Oz, this is something we see in the ministry of Jesus Christ, especially in our reading from Mark today. As we just heard, Jesus silences the storm that rages upon the sea. Jesus stares death in the face, cries out “be still,” and the wind and the waves obey Him. Those who are crying out for the Witch’s broomstick get exactly what they want, even though they’ll continue producing unbelief. So this is the storm of man’s creation. The howling of the wind and the waves is the direct result of Adam and Eve disobeying God, and the disciples themselves have only added to it. The storm is a reflection of man’s arrogance and deceit. Why, then, does Jesus pour out His mercy upon the sinful disciples in the boat? Because Jesus didn’t come to be served or to be saved by mankind. Jesus came to serve and save us.

Remember this as you face the storms of your own making. While you may well face storms in this life that were not your own creation, while you may well face sorrow that you didn’t invite into your life, very often, the storms we face are the storms we generated from behind the Wizard’s curtain. We sow bitterness and reap cruelty. We show pride and reap rejection. We conjure up the wind and the waves and we worship ourselves, as we refuse to sacrifice for others. And the end result is that we end up in a boat being swamped by the consequences of our own actions.

But because Jesus came to save us, He is willing to endure the sorrow and rescue us from the storms of our own making. Through His law, Jesus reveals us as the powerless fool behind the curtain. And through His Gospel, Jesus speaks the word of pardon. Through His blood, His cross, Jesus cries out “be still” and He clothes us in the calm of His salvation.

So the day is coming when all the storms of this life will cease, even the storms of your own making. The day is coming when all the tumult on the sea will cease forever. The day is coming when you will open your eyes and see that the ship of the church has delivered you home, to the Kingdom of God. And that day is coming because your Lord loved you even when you were a storm-creating liar and fraud. That day is coming because your Lord didn’t come to be saved by you, but to save you. And He has. So come out from behind that curtain.

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